Sunday, January 24, 2010

Exclamation points! YEAH! - Part 3

OK, my not-so-in-depth exploration of the exclamation point got a little derailed. I swear it's only half my fault. Friday, I got a little distracted by a few adult beverages and some soul music and yesterday, I was unable to post. On another note, I did discover that there is a slow version of the Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster" so at least there's that.  (NOTE: actually, I'm not 100% sure that this was, in fact, the song I heard...again, adult beverages)

So naturally, I saved the best for last. It doesn't get any more excitable than these final two acts, so here goes:

No list regarding the usage of exclamation points would be complete without this Brooklyn dance-punk-funk crew. I have to admit it took me a while to warm up to them. That is, until 2007 when they put out Myth Takes. With that album, they streamlined their sound just enough ditching endless jams in favor of indelible hooks sounding like The Talking Heads having an orgy with Parliament-Funkadelic. Add to that a sweaty live show complete with singer, Nic Offer's awkwardly awesome, Michael Jackson-meets-Napoleon Dynamite dance moves and what you get is a band whose wordless name is downright fitting.

Last, but certainly not least, is Cardiff, Wales 7-piece indie pop band, Los Campesinos! Fittingly, they've got a new album due out this week called, Romance Is Boring. Though a slightly darker effort they still manage to sound like a sugar rush set to music. On my personal favorite track off of Romance..., "Straight In At 101," singer Gareth Campesinos! starts off horny yet snarky calling for things to become "more post-coital and less post-rock" before falling back onto his boyish charm and overthinking his own past heartbreaks. Whether Los Campesinos! are shouting along giddily or shrieking away noisily, they earn the exclamation point at the end of their name.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Exclamation points! YEAH! - Part 2

So here we go with the 2nd part of my tribute to exclamation point. This time out it's a UK dance-punk band known as Hadouken! I'll be honest...I don't know much about them. Hell, one look at their logo and they seem like they'd be annoying and I won't lie, their music might very well be annoying...but for some reason I dig them. I can't explain it. Much like my love of Katy Perry or Fear Factory...I don't know why but I like it. Anyway, Hadouken! pretty much sounds like a mix of the Prodigy and Does It Offend You, Yeah? with a dash of hip hop. On another note, why is there a question mark at the end of Does It Offend You, Yeah? Just saying their name outloud, it seems like it's more of an excited "YEAH!!" rather than an inquisitive or confused "Yeah?"

Hadouken!- Driving Nowhere.mp3

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Exclamation points! YEAH! - Part 1

It's hard to believe that there once was a time when I was against using exclamation points. I think it was because of Kevin Spacey. For some reason, I seem to remember him having a line in Outbreak where he made fun of Dustin Hoffman's character for wanting him to really emphasize something by using them. And yes, I realize that it's weird to be against a punctuation mark because of something Kevin Spacey said. My only explanation is that I must have seen Outbreak shortly before seeing Se7en or The Usual Suspects, both of which are my favorite Spacey roles.

Anyway, I've changed my tune on exclamation points. And to prove it, for the next few days, I'll be sharing a few songs from my favorite excitable acts. I'll admit that I'm still a bit weary of bands that like to use exclamation points, but it's all part of the growing process, I suppose.

You Say Party! We Say Die!- Laura Palmer's Prom.mp3

Canada's You Say Party! We Say Die! is one of those bands who I want to love based solely on their name. That's not an uncommon occurrence for me, but it is hit or miss. For instance, A Place To Bury Strangers - Total HIT, meanwhile The Phenomenal Handclap Band - complete and utter letdown. Anyway, I'm on the fence about YSP! WSD! but this song, "Laura Palmer's Prom," complete with Twin Peaks reference, definitely has me a little swayed in their favor.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GaGa Guilt and Mashups

I really didn't want to like Lady GaGa. It just sort of happened. I was drunk, in a club, and next thing I knew, I was having the best time dancing it up to "Just Dance" - that and a friend of mine was shirtless on stage, vamping it up.  Sure, it helps that GaGa's songs are ├╝ber-catchy. And it also helps that she's a bit of a weirdo. And yes, I admit, it's not a far stretch for me to like her music since I was obsessed with Katy Perry's "Hot N' Cold" not more than a year ago (it is, after all, an example of pop perfection this side of Kylie Minogue.) Point is, that I've been more open to embracing pop music.

Which brings me to mashups. I guess the blame/thanks should be pointed towards Girl Talk for this sudden favoring attitude towards unabashed pop music. Let's face it- it's because of Girl Talk that I actually enjoy Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone." It definitely helped that Mr. Gillis backed the Clarkson vocal with "Wish" from Nine Inch Nails. But lately, thanks to my DJ Partner In Crime, dj darkmoves, I've had a slight obsession with Mashups. He pointed me to this site of downloadable mashups that are practically instant party-starters. Check them out at this link.

In the meantime, while we're on the subject of Lady GaGa and Mashups:

Rumor has it there are a couple that are floating around that are worth finding, if you're feeling daring: one that combines "Bad Romance" with one of my all-time favorite songs, The Human League's "Don't You Want Me" (Lady GaGa vs. The Human League, "Don't You Want My Bad Romance") and if this isn't the coming together of guilty pleasures, I don't know what is - Lady GaGa vs. Journey, "Just Stop Believin'"

** Revision as of 1pm on 1/13/10: I'm unable to share the actual tracks. However, pay a visit to a site that might still be linked and enjoy. But shhhh, on that. **

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jus A Playlist and a Rascal

The first week of 2010 is almost over and done with and I have to admit, it's taking a while to get back into the swing of things. I went to my first show of the year last night as I checked out Julian Casablancas at the Paradise (it was ok) and today I did some record shopping and spent an obscene amount of money...but I do love vinyl especially when my finds include some Queen (News Of The World), Madonna's first album (mainly so I can spin "Everybody" when I DJ), 1000 Homo DJ's (a 12" that's NOT Supernaut, plus I'm a sucker for anything on Wax Trax!), a pretty neat 7" from The Xx (with a pretty sweet b-side), and my favorite find, Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance"!!

Anyway, this past Monday, Mike YoungMC and I did our Best of 2009 night for a surprisingly packed River Gods (well, surprising since it was a Monday night.) Lots of great artists and Passion Pit were played that night. Take a look for yourself:

Weekly Wax, 1/4/10
Just Fine In '09 - Year In Review

Mike YoungMC 8pm - 9pm
Life's A Dream- Built To Spill
Robots- Dan Mangan
Strange Vine- Delta Spirit
Snow Days- Real Estate
Two Weeks- Grizzly Bear
Janglin'- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
All We Want, Baby, Is Everything- Handsome Furs
So Far Around The Bend- The National
Sweet Disposition- The Temper Trap
I Can See The Pines Are Dancing- A.A. Bondy
Made To Disappear- The Twilight Sad
French Navy- Camera Obscura
Easy- Deer Tick
Now We Can See- The Thermals
Build Voice- Dan Deacon
Lately- Washed Out

DJ Brian L. 9pm - 10pm
When I Grow Up- Fever Ray
Two- The Antlers
Generator 2nd Floor- Freelance Whales
This Tornado Loves You- Neko Case
Call Home- Wild Light
Oh My God- Ida Maria
Young Adult Friction- The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Graffiti Eyes- stellastarr*
Young Hearts Spark Fire- Japandroids
Do You Remember- The Horrors
Further Complications- Jarvis Cocker
I Wanna Kill- Crocodiles
Exploding Head- A Place To Bury Strangers
Last Dance- The Raveonettes
Dominos- The Big Pink
Farewell To The Fairground- White Lies

Mike Young MC 10pm - 11pm
1901- Phoenix
Home- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Tightrope- Yeasayer
Percussion Gun- White Rabbits
Silver Trembling Hands- The Flaming Lips
Crystalised- The xx
Daylight- Matt & Kim
Sleepyhead- Passion Pit
Nadine- Fool's Gold
Feel It All Around- Washed Out
Green Knight- Memory Tapes
It's Thunder and It's Lightning- We Were Promised Jetpacks
Idiot Heart- Sunset Rubdown
Closer To Heaven- Pink Mountaintops
Mornings- Portugal. The Man
Om Nashi Me- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

DJ Brian L. 11pm - 12:15am
Despicable Dogs- Small Black
Daniel- Bat For Lashes
Undisclosed Desires- Muse
Come Back- Depeche Mode
One Day- The Juan MacLean
One More Chance- Bloc Party
New Mind- Pictureplane
My Love Is Better- Annie
Might Like You Better- Amanda Blank
Headlock- Esser
She's Into Black Guys- Bodega Girls
Zero- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Help I'm Alive- Metric
Hang You From The Heavens- The Dead Weather
I Know What I Am- Band Of Skulls
21st Birthday- The Von Bondies
No You Girls- Franz Ferdinand
Actor Out Of Work- St. Vincent
Die Slow- Health
I Got You Dancing- Lady Sovereign
Wilco (The Song)- Wilco

* Mike YoungMC and I will be doing a Best Of The Decade Night at River Gods. Tentatively scheduled for Monday, February 1st *

 One artist that I was kind of bummed I didn't get to play on Monday night was Dizzee Rascal. Now, I'll openly admit, that I'm not a big fan of hip hop. Aside from some classics from the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Run-DMC, and Wu-Tang Clan, my music collection leans very much towards indie rock, industrial, New Wave, post punk, punk, goth, pop, and just a touch of metal (usually 80's hair metal with some thrash thrown in for good measure.) The chances of me liking a rapper goes up about 43.5% if said rapper has a British accent. Such is the case with The Streets, Lady Sovereign, and yes, Dizzee Rascal. It's actually a little bit of a mystery to me why Dizzee isn't bigger in the States since he's been known to tour with a live band (at least, as of late) and, after scouring Youtube for live performances, he's been known to cover some pretty cool songs (The Ting Tings' "That's Not My Name" and Rage Against The Machine's "Bulls On Parade.") That said, here are a couple of songs I dug up that only make my obsession with Dizzee Rascal go from slightly manageable to near-looney -- one is a really fun live mashup of his own single, "Stand Up Tall" with some song called "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (I don't know, I guess it was big in the 90's or something....hahaha) done during Jools Holland's New Year's Eve Hootenanny; the other is Dizzee's biggest song, "Fix Up Look Sharp" with not-too-subtle nods to Jay-Z's "99 Problems"...and it's a family-friendly version, too!! Apparently, a sample of Billy Squier's "The Stroke" and Hova are for the children!

Dizzee Rascal, "Stand Up Tall vs. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Live)"

Dizzee Rascal, "Fix Up, Look Sharp vs. 99 Problems (Live Session)"

Monday, January 4, 2010

Give me an "O"

2009 may be over and done with according to the calendar but not quite yet for me. Tomorrow night, myself and Mike YoungMC, the man behind the lens at Stop Down Fire will be over at River Gods (near Central Square) doing our annual year-end music review. We'll look back fondly at '09. Then some time in February we'll be looking back on the past decade of music. And just to avoid the kind of argument music geeks get into when they DJ (you know, fighting over who gets to play what band), we've split up the decade by years. That said, once tomorrow night's 2009 Retrospective is done I'll be able to look forward into 2010 and the hopefully great new music on the horizon.

That said, this post is dedicated to the person I consider to be the MVP of 2009, the incomparable Karen O. Now, I'll admit, I was pretty quick to get on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs bandwagon back in '01 but I was even quicker at jumping off said bandwagon after seeing the YYYs perform live. Let's just say that Karen O screeched so much that I was convinced the "O" stood for "Ono" (for the record, it stands for Orzolek.) It wasn't until the Download Festival in 2007 when Ms. O, Nick Zinner (a.k.a. the Coolest Guitarist Ever) and Brian Chase finally won me over for good.

But even I couldn't predict the kind of year Karen O would have. First, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs put out the stunning, It's Blitz! transforming into a glitzy, electro-rock juggernaut. Then there was the soundtrack to Where The Wild Things Are credited to Karen O and the Kids- a group that includes Zinner and Chase, as well as Bradford Cox of Deerhunter/Atlas Sound, members of Liars, the Raconteurs, and others- a surprising collection of winsome orchestral pop. And the icing on the cake...or the cherry on top, depending on your preference, is Karen O's guest appearance on another of the year's musical triumphs, The Flaming Lips glorious mindfuck of an album, Embryonic. All of these are reasons that Karen O is not only the MVP of 2009 but also my new Non-Sexual Crush. I bet we'd get along if we hung out.

Anyway, here's a sampling of Karen O's utter coolness:

First up: Dance til you're dead!

Then: A song for frolicking in a field.

And finally: Putting the "O" in "weirdo"