Friday, February 19, 2010

Ooh new Broken Social Scene

OK, so this is just a short post for the sole purpose of sharing a brand new song from Broken Social Scene. By far, one of the best live bands. In all honesty, they don't reinvent music or anything but they do things to perfection. Their new album, Forgiveness Rock Record, is due out on May 4th (the album cover is above) and they're giving away a song off said album entitled "World Sick" as a free download...just supply your email address which is a fair trade considering it's Broken Social Scene and yes, the song is as good as you'd expect.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Things that start with the letter J


Admittedly, this isn't that Decade Retrospective that I've been threatening to write.  It turns out that trying to narrow down ten years of music is a tough endeavor. Plus, I have to say that in the beginning of the last decade, I may or may not have been going through some sort of identity crisis, musically speaking of course. 2000 and 2001 were the years that I was heavily into industrial in, "all I listened to was industrial music" save for a few artists. Unfortunately, one of those few bands that weren't industrial that I really enjoyed was Incubus. Like I said, it was a dark period...but i will admit, that I still have "Wish You Were Here" on BriPod. What can I say? It's a good song. A guilty pleasure? Yes, most definitely.

Anyway, since this is not a look back at the first ten years of the Aughts, I figured I'd at least get gushy over some new music that has yet to come out...and wouldn't you know it, this new music comes from artists that begin with the letter "J."

Japandroids, "Art Czars"

It turns out I can't go a few days without talking about the awesomeness that is Japandroids. They put out my favorite album of 2009 (Post-Nothing) as well as one of the best singles in the last five years (that would be "Young Hearts Spark Fire.") I'd go on record as saying that they've even dethroned the also great, No Age, as my favorite two-man garage punk band. Their songs are simple yet filled with the most contagious choruses ever. They are one of few bands that make me want to scream their lyrics back at them. Anyway, since they'll be touring nonstop, instead of a new album they'll be releasing a series of 7" singles throughout the course of the year each including one new song along with a cover as a b-side. First up, is "Art Czars," a song they've been performing live since the fall. Let me spoil it for you: it's awesome! One listen and you'll be singing along to it ("Here's your money back, here's your punk rock back!") As if that wasn't enough, the b-side to this first single is a cover of Big Black's "Racer X." Seriously, who covers Big Black?!! You can pre-order this 7" from Polyvinyl Records. And yes, I pre-ordered my copy already...I may or may not have gotten so excited at the thought of owning this song that I might've forgotten my own zip code and had to ask someone else...just sayin'.

Jónsi, "Go Do"

I'm not exactly what one would call a Sigur Ros fan. As a matter of fact, it still sort of baffles me how they can be someone's favorite band since they sing in a partially made-up language (Hopelandic?) It just stinks of pretentious. I might've even done a little dance of joy upon finding out that Sigur Ros is going on indefinite hiatus. Then I read that frontman Jónsi Birgisson is putting out a solo album and I thought "YES, I am so going to hate this and make fun of it and it'll bring me joy to do so." Then I heard "Go Do" and well...I was sort of blown away by it. He's mostly singing in English which is a plus, but the song itself is just huge sounding with drumming and percussion that seems downright other-worldly. I hate to say it, but based solely on "Go Do," as well as another song from the album, "Boy Lilikoi," Jónsi's Go (due out on April 6th) has become one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Damn you, Jónsi!

Serena-Maneesh, "Ayisha Abyss"

OK, so Serena-Maneesh doesn't exactly begin with the letter "J" but I've been waiting impatiently for their second full length album, S-M 2: Abyss In B-Minor. One look at the picture above and you might think "they look like a band of gypsies" and all I have to say to that is, "yes, they really do!" But their self-titled 2006 debut was any indication, these Norwegians are capable of making mind melting shoegaze. S-M 2's lead single, "Ayisha Abyss" is 6 minutes of aural heaven as swooshing keyboards come together with a throbbing industrial beat as subtle shades of guitar noise try to find their way through the haze. Yeah, that about sums it up.

And don't forget, this has been brought to you by the letter J. Well, mostly, at least....2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The January Five


Alright, so clearly I've been neglecting things here....not for lack of actual random ramblings, but more out of sheer laziness and a bad case of being a bit scatterbrained. As in "I forgot to pay my rent because it didn't occur to me that a new month had started"-level-of-scatterbrain. I've got a lot of catching up to do around here. For instance, last week I DJ'ed over at River Gods on a night called "So Very Noughtie: Sounds Of A Decade." And yes, the toughest part of that night was narrowing down ten years of music into 4 hours. Which got me thinking and reflecting over the last decade's worth of music. That said, once said thoughts are collected I'll likely be posting the playlist from that DJ set as well as some picks for my personal favorites that came out of the first 10 years of this (not-so) new millennium. But that's later...for now, my focus is different. 

I remembered putting together my Best of '09 list and how much I agonized over all the music I obsessed over in the last year. So in an effort to cut down on some unnecessary stress, I figured I'd try to come up with my five favorite releases of each month that way it would make coming up with my ten favorite releases at the end of the year a bit easier. How's that for forethought?! 

So here goes: The January Five

1. Beach House: Teen Dream - I won't lie. The fact that I'm this head over heels for this album is a bit of a surprise. Don't get me wrong, I liked Beach House's previous album, Devotion, but this album completely took me off guard. The Maryland duo has always had a knack for hypnotic haziness, but here they they actually live up to the "dream pop" tag by focusing on memorable songs. It helps that singer, Victoria Legrand is blessed with a voice that is downright intoxicating. "Norway" is a favorite thanks to that woozy keyboard sound which reminds me a little of the first time I heard My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and how I thought there was something wrong with the guitars.

2. Spoon: Transference - I won't lie, it took me a while to get on board with Spoon. Sure, I thought Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was great, but the time I saw them live left me feeling a bit disappointed. Then late last year, I saw them play a radio sponsored show, co-headlining with Phoenix. Spoon had the unenviable task of following those dapper Frenchmen and to my utter surprise, they completely delivered the goods. Scrappy, soulful indie rock. It turns out that time I saw them a couple of years ago was an off night for them. Trasnference may lack the bells and whistles (and the horns) of Ga... but it still has plenty of that character that makes this required listening for any Spoon fan.

3. Four Tet: There Is Love In You - Yet another surprise here. Just when I thought I had outgrown my fascination with blippy laptop electronic music something like this comes out. Four Tet (a.k.a. Kieran Hebden) manages to breathe some actual human life into IDM. And that's what makes this album such a great listening experience. It has a pulse to it. The album's centerpiece is the 9-minute, "Love Cry" which builds with great subtlety as beats pile up on each other and morph into new beats; then at the 5-minute mark, a heavenly female vocal enters the fray cooing along beautifully just as a gurgling synth bubbles up onto the surface before disappearing, reappearing, and dissolving into itself.

4. Surfer Blood: Astrocoast  - West Palm Beach, Florida's Surfer Blood doesn't try to reinvent the wheel on their debut album. Instead, they just concentrate on making some awesomely catchy indie rock with loads of fuzz and reverb at times sounding like Weezer if they still wanted to be good or like Superchunk if they slowed down just a touch. And yes, the fact that lead single, "Swim" is packed with an "oh-oh"-filled chorus makes it an early front-runner for the best single of 2010. 

5. Los Campesinos! : Romance Is Boring - By now, everyone is fully aware that I have a soft spot for Los Campesinos! It could be because of the exclamation point. But really, it's because of the fact that three albums into their young career, they finally sound on edge. There are still hints of snarkiness, but now, their giddy shout-alongs are a little darker and a little angrier. At times, they still sound like they're on the brink of breaking into a fit of laughter, but they balance that out with moments of pure noisy freakouts. 

So there it is. What I fondly refer to as "The January Five." Til next time, when I'll either be looking back at the first decade of the '00s or compiling "The February Five." It's just so hard to tell...or is it? (I like being mysterious.)