Thursday, April 14, 2011

Handsome Furs Get Hairy

Guys, I'm over the plagiarism. It was crazy, I got angry, I got over it. The rest of No Ripcord's staff was absolutely respectable and diligent in dealing with the situation, so I in no way desire to hold any grudges.

Moving on, let's talk about a new record I'm already so pleased to hear. A formal review will come later, but let's just discuss what makes Handsome Furs one of my most unlikely favorite bands.

-this music has groove, edge, and manic energy
-husband and wife duo spits on each other/makes out onstage
-they are the rawest people ever
-their music is pure exertion

It's not joyful music, necessarily. The past couple albums have dealt with heavy issues. Face Control explored the cruelties they learned of while touring Eastern Europe ("Radio Kaliningrad," check). They also seem to mock selfish consumerism with my favorite title, maybe, ever -- "All We Want, Baby, Is Everything." Sometimes this title is my mantra, when I'm feeling especially ambitious. Sometimes I just think I want everything. Everything and nothing at the same time. It's ridiculous.

The energy on their soon-to-hit-shelves Sound Kapital is so palpable you can feel it suction to your insides. Constant punches to the gut, obnoxiously squeaky synth blasting (I hate techno/I love techno - it's an anomaly), and of course, the dirty guitar growl.

Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry seem to have done it again.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No Ripcord Update

The Cass McCombs review has been pulled from No Ripcord's website, and I received the following emails from them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Plagiarism - NOT cool

A commenter brought to my attention that I've been plagiarized.

I published my Cass McCombs review on my blog March 1st.

This review came out on No Ripcord April 2nd.

This makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. ABSOLUTELY SICK.

I know this is just the internet, but in no way is it OK to steal someone's words.

Really Tom Roper? It was really that hard to formulate your own views and listen to the lyrics yourself?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sad Mraz

I woke up this morning in a strange sense of disarray. A song had noodled its way into my brain - a song I had not heard in years. I leaned across my bathroom counter trying to remember it before the moment passed, hesitating to start brushing my teeth lest I lose it.

At first I could make out the word "absolutely." I knew it was slow, and beautiful. Zero. Absolutely Zero. Oh my blobinthesky, I had vintage Jason Mraz in my head!

I'm not sure how he got there. After all, I've been trying to forget about him for years. Jason Mraz went from a sad sack with the most beautiful songs of heartbreak to the most irritating ukulele-toting fedora-wearing man in the history of pop music. And all of this happened within the course of a few short years. Waiting for my Rocket to Come, the 2002 masterpiece, slowly disintegrated into 2005's mediocre Mr. A-Z, a sub-par effort where Mr. Mraz went from Awesome to a little too Zany. Then came 2008's We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. where the only track worth listening was track 7. It was a sad sack song. And I can't even remember its name.

And that's when he brought out his ukulele. The worst use of ukulele known to mankind.

Back to Waiting for my Rocket to Come. These songs are precious raindrops and morning dew. They are sensitive, and gentle, and everything great about waking up on a fresh morning. "Who Needs Shelter" has the sweetest sort of guitar plucking, while "The Boy's Gone" has a steady pace of contemplative lyrics and a simple-but-catchy guitar riff. "Absolutely Zero" is full of break-up sadness, enough emotion to somehow bury itself in the depths of my brain, only to emerge 9 years after I first heard it.

Sad Mraz, come back. You may have been miserable, and I may have been naive, but life was simpler back then.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

of Montreal - thecontrollersphere

Deception and camouflage color this mini-album, a batch of five songs where of Montreal manages to shroud its normal sound for that of its influences. “Flunk Sass vs the Root Plume” is straight out of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust period, “Holiday Call” falls into A. R. Rahman territory when it stretches on for five minutes in a a trippy Bollywood synth jam, and “Black Lion Massacre” is as frightening as it sounds, as the band forgoes its pop sensibilities for haunting techno noise with creepy robot narration. Of Montreal doesn’t actually sound like itself until “L’age D’or,” a great bouncy tune that would not be out of place in the same Harlem house clubs that inspired Madonna’s “Vogue.” Kevin Barnes croons “she’s just my party drug” in a falsetto that makes Ke$ha sound tame. Nothing here is must-hear, but true fans will enjoy sorting through of Montreal’s influences and musical thought process as they prepare for the next full album.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Head and the Heart - Self-Titled

Themes of traveling and packing bags are all over The Head and the Heart’s debut album, now being re-released by Sub Pop. “Ghosts” revolves around friends talking about leaving their hometown, “Rivers and Roads” takes listeners on an emotional journey, and “Down in the Valley” name checks California and Oklahoma amongst the places to hide away in a secret valley. After all, most of the six band members are recent Seattle transplants, and fresh off cross-state journeys to their new home. “Down in the Valley” evokes an incredible sort of emotion, as it builds from reflective, acoustic picking to piano that pulls on the heartstrings and violin that steals heat right from the center of the fire. It exemplifies what The Head and the Heart do best, and do often. Their glowing harmonies, sense of movement (both musical and lyrical), and emotional build capture the heart in ways other bands can only dream. Roll your car windows down, pack your bags, and sing along.

*By the way, this is currently my favorite album of 2011. That's how much I think you should listen to it.