Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dude Loving, Male Bonding

So, I should be transcribing my interview with a dude from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
I should be on the beach with my friends.
I should be cleaning my room, and doing my laundry.

Instead, I'm blasting the new album by Male Bonding, Nothing Hurts.

It's exactly what it sounds like, and it makes me want to be a dude. I mean, I really like dudes, so I guess if I was one, I'd be a gay dude. I'd be ok with that. But it might take away from the male bonding that this band so weirdly makes me desire.

Speaking of weird, listen to this song by Male Bonding:
Weird Feelings - Male Bonding

It is a grunge, gnarly-guitar-y version of the Beatles' "Please Please Me." So, we've got some sort of early sugar power pop mixed with the grit of Kurt Cobain's non-washed cardigan, swirled with the fast-driven percussion we might find in a Ramones song.

In other words, or rather, in a simpler translation, IT ROCKS. As does the rest of Nothing Hurts. It's just dude-licious.

Random Thought

Just listened to a few songs by The Tallest Man on Earth, and I think my heart skipped a beat.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Village Voice on She & Him

Que interesante, Mike Powell.

A quote from a recent Village Voice article, re: She & Him.

"The interesting thing, if you care about "retro culture," is that She & Him are taking what was once mass-market pop music and repackaging it as something "indie" or alternative. Their statement of rebellion is to reject everything made after the early '70s. But lots of bands have done this, and done it with more creativity—Belle & Sebastian, say, or the Magnetic Fields.

I also find it weird that Deschanel and Ward talk about how comfortably they got along, because there's something essentially cold about Volume Two. The happy songs aren't happy, and the sad songs aren't sad: When they cover Skeeter Davis, they leave out the sass; when they copy the Ronettes or the Crystals, they leave out the teenage throb; when they reach for the Beach Boys, their professionalism eclipses their innocence."

The more I think about it and listen to it, the more She & Him just seems like a big ol' ploy to make lots of money. (It doesn't hurt that Deschanel refused to let me interview her on a feature story I was writing about their upcoming Cleveland show. Apparently she only does interviews in person, and I'm not the first to be rejected - Jill writes for Billboard.) I'm very curious to see how/if my feelings change when I see them next month.

(P.S. Hipster Runoff is right - M. Ward totally looks like a d-bag with his facial hair. No offense M! I do love you forever!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mixtape of the Week - 5.23.10

I'm going to try this new thing where I post a 7-song mixtape each week. These are songs you should be listening to this week, whether it's because they just came out, or they just are on my mind. So here's edition one, go!

Click to download on mediafire:

Mixtape of the Week - 5.23.10

1. Favourite Color - Tokyo Police Club
2. Drunkmare - Ticonderoga
3. Summer Cum - Avi Buffalo
4. Janglin - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
5. To Hell with Good Intentions - Japandroids
6. Numbers Don't Lie - The Mynabirds
7. A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill - Jens Lekman

There's no rhyme or reason, no theme or well-thought-out pattern, no genre similarity, no cohesion. Basically, it's a terrible mixtape. But these are the songs you should be listening to this week. Period.

This blog is called No Mistake in Mixtape. You ask, "Danielle, why did it take you this long to start posting weekly mixes?"

I have no idea.

I'm an idiot.

Tokyo Police Club - Champ

If Tokyo Police Club were to encapsulate their sound in one of those little plastic baggies they let you carry on to airplanes, they would add a few teaspoons of sugar, the essence of youth, and a mixtape of Britpop and freewheeling indie rock. On their sophomore release, the four Canadians manage to out-fun 2008’s Elephant Shell with whirling guitars, whimsical keys, and quirky lines like “We stay up as late as we like/ like K-Ci and JoJo/ like Sonny and Cher/ you’re Tina, but I’m not Ike.” Dave Monks sings about classic Disney in “Bambi,” as drummer Greg Alsop brings the band’s signature throttling percussion back to every song except the deceptively titled “Breakneck Speed.” The guys like to goof around; their inspiration for “Wake Up (Boots of Danger)” were the ridiculous results they found on an internet dictionary when they translated phrases from English to Japanese and back again. On album opener, “Favourite Food,” Monks croons, “your coffee’s cold, your coffee’s icy,” dragging out the last syllable like a little boy whining to his mother. Like the coffee, Champ kicks you until you get up, but it’s a far more pleasurable wake-up call.

(It's out June 8th on Mom + Pop Records, btw. Get on it, kids.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ariel Pink's Haunted Brainwaves

Not so sure if I would have written such a favorable review of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti for The Needle Drop if I read this absolutely insane quote first.

Metric Concert Review - HOB Cleveland

When Metric played “Dead Disco” at House of Blues last night, the synth's high-pitched alien screeching, rippling guitar growls, and bouncy percussion meant that the band was bringing a new kind of dance music to town. Audience members bounced on their heels, clapping their hands above their heads as frontwoman Emily Haines strutted across the stage, shrugging her shoulders to the beat.

The song hit the back of House of Blues hard and fast, but like a few other songs in the set, it paused for a long breakdown in the middle. The Canadian band has the change-of-mood-and-tempo thing down to a science. The slow momentum always built up to explosive sound and rapidly pulsing lights.

While neither Haines nor anyone else in the band had much to say in between songs, they owned the stage with jagged movements and rapid-fire solos.

Material from Metric’s fourth album, Fantasies, made up most of the set, which began with the creepy, robotic exuberance of “Twilight Galaxy.” “Satellite Mind,” “Help I’m Alive,” and “Gold Guns Girls” pulsed through the hall with the kind of energy that could power thousands of batteries.

“Sick Muse,” which sounds like a tribute to Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” on record, sounded less like '80s dance music and more like rock and roll with James Shaw’s spaghetti-western guitars, Josh Winstead’s bumbling bass, and Joules Scott-Key’s syncopated percussion.

But Haines was the true force of power, wrapping the crowd around her finger with her endless liveliness. She pranced, hopped, headbanged, and high-fived fans, all while playing the synthesizer and electric guitar, and crooning dark lyrics like “If I stumble, they’re gonna eat me alive.”

For the encore, Metric went to both extremes, first by taking on the punky “Monster Hospital,” and ending with an acoustic version of “Combat Baby.” As Shaw and Haines turned the feisty favorite into a bedtime tune, they smiled at each other knowingly. They’ve finally reached a stage in their career where they’re good enough to drastically alter fan favorites and still leave them wanting more.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Right on Pitch(fork)

Aha! I wasn't the only one who noticed the Jock Jams beat on the Black Keys' "Howlin' For You"! But I did write it first, for the record ;)

My take:
"'Howlin’ For You,' which will probably land at the top of the ‘2010 scorchers’ list, kicks off with Jock Jams drum hits and amps cranked to 11."

Larry Fitzmaurice of Pitchfork:
"'Too Afraid to Love You' feels spooked-out thanks to Auerbach's distanced vocals and some haunted harpsichord, while the Jock Jams beat on 'Howlin' For You' and 'Black Mud's winking nod to CCR's 'Green River' find the Keys in an uncharacteristically playful mode."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Metric @ HOB Tomorrow

If it’s even possible, Metric sounds edgier today than they did back in 2003 when vocalist and bandleader Emily Haines fiercely urged us to “fight off the lethargy” in “Combat Baby.” The band has always popped right out of the speakers with stuttered percussion and growling riffs. Yet Fantasies, their fourth album, purrs with a maniacal energy that’s as danceable as ever. The guitar line of “Sick Muse” looks back to Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” and then adds swagger. True to its name, “Gold Guns Girls” fires like a 24 karat pistol, speeding your heart rate with Joules Scott-Key’s relentless percussion. Fantasies' fast pace is a sure bet for a sweaty, sloppy crowd, but sprawling ballads like “Love is a Place” and “Torture Me” give the Canadian band a second to cool down while Haines showcases her seductive vocals. Dark lyrics cloud the exuberance you might typically find in such danceable music. “If this is the life, why does it feel so good to die today?” questions Haines when she’s not belting, “Help, I’m alive.” Still, as much as Metric renounces being alive, their music is the kind that will surely bring the audience to life. Bear in Heaven open at 8 p.m. tomorrow at the House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue, 216.523. 2583). Tickets: $20 advance, $23 day of show.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Big Freakin Dance Party with Jens Lekman

We've been over this before, but I can't really get past it - Jens Lekman is the taste of sunshine.

This man is the most corny, cliche, piece of junk ever, and I LOVE HIM. I don't care if he's gay or straight, if he's Swedish or Malaysian, if he's short or tall. He is pretty much the only man who makes music today that sounds like pure unfiltered happiness. You can Fanfarlo me this and Boy Least Likely To me that. I DON'T CARE. I'm using caps lock. It's because I automatically transform into a 13-year-old girly girl when I listen to Jens, and my whole body is a mushy pile of goosh, and my sentences start to run on, and you start to suspect that I really don't know how to write a blog at all.

This is stream of conscious writing folks. You should try it sometime. I like it most after I've just spent three hours trying to write 200 words on a musician that I don't really care about. (We wont even GO there. I prefer to talk about my loves here, not my "meh's.")

I'm finding there's lots of meh's lately, and maybe that's just because I get all kinds of music for free, and I'm jaded, or a snobbish music critic, or whatever. I don't know. Conversation for another time.

Instead, let's discuss the merits of "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill," a song that makes my heart jump out of its little heart socket. There's that little meager horn, and that clappy clappy rhythm, and the goofy people that sing bum bum bum bum, and OF COURSE, Jens Lekman's voice.

His voice is silk. Every gentleman should have a voice like his. It's the kind of voice that you imagine a clean-cut prince charming to have. It's also so perfect that it is completely and utterly laughable. Like, are you kidding me? Does this dude seriously sound this smooth? It must be a joke.

Night Falls Over Kortedala is the best worst record I've ever heard.

Thanks Jens! You just about made my life!

How do you all feel about Mr. Jenny? Actually, males, I would like your feedback FOR REAL. I've never met a man-creature who likes Jens Lekman. Ever. Is it a girl thing?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just Had an Andrew WK Moment

I was blasting Bad Brains' "Banned in DC" and washing my face.

Then this happened:

Major nosebleed.

All I could think of is how much I resembled this:

All these years I spent denying my similarities with Andrew WK...

But still, usually other people write creepy stalker songs about me, not vice versa.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Could this summer be any better?

I'm pretty sure it couldn't, considering these two albums will be on repeat, blasted from my car stereo all day every day. (Minus, you know, the 9 hours a day I actually have to work. Work is such a hindrance to music, isn't it?)

Sleigh Bells, Treats

Tokyo Police Club, Champ

Trust me, I'll be writing some more things about these albums. They are irresistible!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jamie Lidell - Compass

The title is no lie; it takes some serious assistance to find a sense of direction while listening to Jamie Lidell’s fourth full-length. Funk, soul, hip-hop, dance, and electronica are all mashed together in songs that fizzle and pop like kooky science experiments. Lidell yelps and whoops like a maniac atop the jazzy horns of “The Ring,” the shuffling percussive twists of “Your Sweet Boom,” and the bass-heavy disco jam “Enough’s Enough.” Beck lent a hand to the spacey production, along with Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, who Lidell says he knew he needed to work with from the minute he heard Veckatimest. The result is a disjointed, yet festive, collection of songs that paint pictures of Lidell’s roughest moments of the past couple years. Layer after layer of sound urge questioning - is that glass breaking or just a chime? Is he using vocal effects or is that another instrument entirely? Judging from pictures of his packed home studio, all of the above. Feist and Beck contribute ethereal harmonies to album standout “Big Drift,” a haunting desert ballad. The title track refreshingly peels back the layers to showcase Lidell’s passionate growl, the one glorious string that ties all Compass’ madness together.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Black Keys - Brothers

Pat Carney and Dan Auerbach aren’t brothers, but they might as well be. The Akron duo has been playing music together since the two were teens, and it shows. Auerbach refers to their musical relationship as a well-oiled machine. In fact, the Black Keys finished Brothers in nine days of recording at Muscle Shoals studio. On their sixth album, dirt and grime coat every song. A visceral rawness radiates throughout, giving the album an attitude that reaches back to basics – distorted guitars, pounding beats, and clean bass. “Howlin’ For You,” which will probably land at the top of the ‘2010 scorchers’ list, kicks off with Jock Jams drum hits and amps cranked to 11. Danger Mouse, who produced 2008’s Attack and Release, was back behind the boards on “Tighten Up.” The song’s innocent whistling adds just the right amount of whimsy to the driving riffs and bumbling bass. It ends with a slo-mo guitar solo that’s straight out of a movie dream sequence. Carney and Auerbach cover Jerry Butler’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” with old soul flavor, and stay true to their blues revivalism on “Next Girl.” With grooves this good, you kinda wish the guys were your relations.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Me + Alicia Keys = Dreamworld

Hey kids!

So guess what. I like blogging a lot. We're friends; you know that. I've been nominated to keep a blog for Alicia Keys. And you know what? That would rock, like, way harder than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I'm pretty sure I need your support. (Ok, I'm positive. Whats a girl gotta do, beg?) So pretty please, in the name of your mother on this Mother's Day weekend, go check out my posts, which I'll update daily.

If you could give me some gold stars, I'd be happy as a second grader, who gets stars on her star chart and drinks apple juice for snack. (When I was in second grade, I also drew Sailor Moon characters all over the chalkboard, so maybe you could, you know, send me some anime suggestions, too.) If you could also throw some complimentary comments my way (on that blog), I'd probably be overjoyed. I'll probably eat a piece of chocolate for each comment. I'm hoping to gain about 20 pounds in the next two weeks. So help me out with that, if you know what I mean.

Just go here. Help a (super) woman out. You are the best friends a girl could ask for!!

The National - High Violet

Just when music lovers thought that the National had already achieved peak glory with 2007’s Boxer, a shadowy but obliquely intense collection of songs, the quintet of Cincinnati natives shatters all conventions. On their latest fare – to put it simply – they strive to define a generation, and in many cases, they succeed. High Violet rumbles from its own belly, the songs exploding from within themselves, the lyrics detailing the impossibilities of everyday life in a way that’s simultaneously puzzling and universal. Like the National’s other albums, High Violet is a grower. After a few listens, the way Matt Berninger’s deep baritone rises and falls ever so subtly over Aaron and Bryce Dessner’s melding, shimmering guitar lines creates a certain hypnosis. Punctured by Bryan Devendorf’s alternating time signatures and his brother Scott’s pounding bass, these songs kick to life. “Sorrow found me when I was young/Sorrow waited, sorrow won,” Berninger mumbles in a hushed tone on the album’s second track, “Sorrow.” It’s one of those moments that hint at the emotional journey High Violet shares with listeners. “England” is the kind of sprawling sonic landscape, swathed in strings and horns, that will inevitably draw comparisons to U2. The National doesn’t reach perfection here, but they get so close it’s scary. We’re stuck wondering – is this their Joshua Tree?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Mystery of the Black Keys

There's so much I've been dying to say, but I just can't muster up the courage to say it. Perfectionism is kicking in, triggering a familiar procrastination.

Like, for one, I am totally a goner for the new Avi Buffalo album. I have an interview that I recorded with Avi some months ago that I need to put together. And I need to collect my thoughts further. Because, for the life of me, I can't put my finger on what exactly draws me to his songs. Bubbles automatically want to touch one another, by some physical, scientific connection. My ears are similarly, and weirdly, might I add, attracted to everything about the way Avi's fingers sound on his guitar. The way that his song structures don't really make any sense to me, but then they end up making total sense. The way his voice annoys me and thrills me, and how much it upsets me when people automatically lump him with James Mercer, just because it's "different."

As I sit here, trying to figure out a scanner, wondering why I had to be born into a century when these things matter, The Black Keys' new album plays on my record player.

My player looks like an old radio combined with an old record player. It looks cool. It doesn't sound so great. But it plays CDs. And tapes. And radio. And records. So that's gotta count for something.

Anyway, The Black Keys made an album named Brothers that I'm supposed to be reviewing this minute.

All I have so far is that it sounds like these songs sound like they've been coated in dust, and then dipped in whiskey. It's like something Dairy Queen might dream up if it was owned by some really gritty alcoholics.

The album is great, and that's really no surprise to me, considering The Black Keys are making some of the best simple music of our time. Consistently. These songs help me understand what my dad might have been thinking when he wore out the grooves of his Zeppelin records. Not because it sounds anything like Zep, but rather because this is just rock in it's purest form. I never felt like I could truly UNDERSTAND classic rock, and maybe that's because it came before me.

And one more thought - The Black Keys are making some of the sexiest music alive. Yeah, it's alive. The riffs are breathing, and Auerbach's vocals are steaming, and everything about the drums feel paced for strutting.

"Howlin' For You" is destined to be the hottest song of 2010. Don't even deny that. You can't. It'd be like telling me that hands would function properly without thumbs. They just wouldn't. I broke my thumb once. I know.

Deer Tick - The Naked Truth

Deer Tick's John McCauley gets into trouble when he drinks. That means he gets into trouble a lot.

"The other day when we played in Iowa, we were playing so hard and so fast for so long," recalls the Rhode Island native. "I felt like taking my clothes off, so I just played naked toward the end. I didn't go out there planning on it. Shit just happens sometimes."

It might have been strange and awkward for audience members unfamiliar with Deer Tick, but their fans know stuff like this is common at shows. McCauley caused a media storm when he wore a dress at Coachella last month, yet any loyal follower would know band members bring dresses and skirts on tour — just in case the mood strikes.

McCauley's other stage tricks include piercing his ears and lips (sometimes he bleeds profusely, but he insists he's too wasted to feel it) and playing guitar solos with a bunch of burning dollar bills in his mouth (no, they don't burn his tongue).

Read the rest here at the Cleveland Scene.