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 music...as 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.

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