Tuesday, November 24, 2009

six drummers

this blew my mind

Monday, November 16, 2009

death from above 1979 - 'blood on our hands'

boombastically, death from above 1979 contends to be one of the heaviest bands i've heard in my life. this is huge considering the fact that death from above 1979 was a two piece band.

'blood on our hands' is a dirty jagged example of the grit and depth of the band. it's as though a landslide has been triggered itself by a bass pickslide. sebastien grainger wastes no time flaunting brooding vocal melodies, instead he begins the song with a scream: "i'm leaving!". could it be mindless machismo, indifference, defiance or all three, there is a resolute stance behind his howls. jesse keeler's distorted bass bounces around throwing elbows in a vain attempt to dominate the song. instead it punctuates grainger's vocals and bleets spurring urgency the brutal drums. momentarily a soft synth interjects to oil the bass' tattered syllables, but is promptly pinned to the ground and pummeled as the song climaxes and breaks. from the truly fantastic album,
you're a woman, i'm a machine.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


from eric's halloween party.
beware of
columbian coffee bean farmers, nutcrackers and ketchup.
apparently they get agitated when cornered.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

digitalism - 'pogo'

yes. it has been a while since i've posted. i'm beginning to realize i can't wait for my life to slow down to write, so i'm going to take more initiative from now on.

this song is a little older, as most are from overseas. digitalism is from the great deutchland. i was at eric's halloween party and the moment the song started, i knew i was smitten.

'pogo' begins with a glitchy synth torn between notes by the furious paces of relentless high hats. the bass synthesizer bounces around similar to the device which the song was aptly named. these eventually give way to the chorus, blending mostly synthetic buzzing with a guitar backbone. the quirky lyrics, spliced between "wha-oh!" come out like brad pitt mimicking an italian accent in inglorious basterds, syllables stretched and chewed over. many elements pull references to the 80's electronic / glammish movements. this song promises no great dark twists or lyrical wit; rather it promises a great time dancing on the lights in the city and a fantastic soundtrack as you are racing away from the police car with it's colors flashing. i really enjoy the way the song flows with this "game" called audiosurf.

Monday, August 17, 2009

wall of ice

so, undoubtedly radiohead has either generated a lot of buzz for a fictitious site and all these rumors about an ep coming out today. now, the site has a track with some words about not publishing fabricated facts to get hits and not believing people's tweets. the music on the site could / could not be radiohead.

but, if you go to waste, they now have 'these are my twisted words' for free...

Friday, July 31, 2009

okkervil river - 'for real'

this song imagines our inner darkest thoughts. i remember my dad setting me aside and lecturing me that all of us have dark ideas, but it's really important to never let the dark side of us come out. i don't know if i agree with the sentiment to never let it out, but i do agree that all of us have sinister thoughts, whether it be considering how an airplane crash would feel if we were aboard in row F with the window view or some crazy perverted thought you would never explain to someone.

okkervil river was a band i really never had looked into. one night at a friend of a friend's house, i was played this song and it immediately reminded me of the speech i had from my father. 'for real' understands the suppression behind the emotions and moreover realizes the release when we acknowledge our darkest depths. the stark contrast between the soft verses and the rough, jagged prechorus sent chills down my spine indicating the songs powerful pull. find your darkest spots and don't be afraid. as the song labors, "you can't hide".

creepy video...

Monday, July 20, 2009

thom yorke - 'the present tense' (live at latitude)

if i could count the amount of times i've wondered if radiohead are angels/aliens, i'd be able to count myself to sleep for many nights. thom yorke, et al, have such dynamic musical abilities, i find it challenging to not sit in wonder if this will be the greatest band i will ever experience in my lifetime. this recording is from this year's altitude festival and thom plays a new song entitled 'the present tense' all by his lonesome.

breaking down the elements of the song, the guitar is something quite similar to 'reckoner', fingerpicked loosely in lopsided succession. yorke's vocals are restrained in the beginning, singing lightly of weapons and self-defense. implicitly, his soft vocals mirror the folky nature of the song and lyrics ("don't get heavy, keep it light, keep it moving"). following the second verse, he shifts into jeff buckley's vocal range with a fervent, yet calm demeanor. briefly, there is a definite feel of 'you and whose army' mixed with the break from 'reckoner' as the chord progression changes in a familiar sense. as the guitar shifts back, the bossa nova roots becoming more evident, as he coos, "in you i'm lost;" leaving just enough time to breathe deeply and it abruptly ends.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

elbow - 'some riot'

i'm so fortunate to have a wonderful twin who shares so much with me. i'm not always into his music suggestions, but sometimes he recommends music which it takes a while to digest but is amazing. he recommended i relisten to elbow recently and i'm surprised they didn't catch my ear the first time.

elbow is a seasoned group out of england who has been around for over 15 years i believe. 'some riot' is off their most recent album the seldom seen kid.

this particular riot is built on a tinker piano which sounds like it should be in a music box. a cello, (i believe), shifts like a top nearing the end of it's dance. the piano and the cello shift back and forth, as if
in a slow waltz, swelling and ebbing. the vocals are soft and gentle, but grow to a strained, saddened call. as things progress, an church organ creeps up and looms heavily in the air, framing the song. there is also a spectacular live version with the bbc orchestra on youtube if you want to check it out. (by the way i think he says 'booze' rather than bruise)

i'm ready for some fireworks

Monday, June 29, 2009

kent - 'things she said'

kent is another band from sweden.
fairly obscure in reference until rock band came out with 'vinternoll2' on it.

this song is off their classic isola back from the year 1998.
the back beat is driven by a hollow tom sound from behind a thick curtain of acoustic guitars reminiscent of the flaming lips.
the bass guitar shifts underneath the rhythm and joakim berg's vocals stretch vowels in an unnatural way. guitar harmonics float above berg's falsettos at the crescendo, where it fades away. fitting that kent was formed to try and emulate my bloody valentine.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

sneaker pimps - 'bloodsport'

i've loved the sneaker pimps since becoming x, which sadly is their only recognizable album to most folks. followed by the more complex and acoustic feel of splinter, which is probably my favorite album by them. when bloodsport was scheduled for release, i was anxious to get my hands on it. there was a debacle and tommy boy records cut the british band off the label, although i was lucky to get my hands on a cd, (i would have waited over 6 months if i wasn't able to grab that copy).

the title track immediately drew me in with the complex, dancey rhythms and squawking synthesizers, (the sexiness of the female moans probably didn't hurt). the song grinds like a stripclub anthem, but still has that edge which comes with the lead singer, chris corner, who is very likely to pick up a guitar on even some of the most techno sounding tracks, (although he doesn't pick one up for 'bloodsport'). he feigns an innocent boyish charm, ensnared in some complex and kinky sex act, but you can be sure it was his idea all along.

this is the song i can put on late at a party and even though i've got no energy left, (or dance moves for that matter), i will go strong to this song.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

tv on the radio - staring at the sun

beginning with an urban hymnal feel, synths boil to churn out the bass line. 'staring at the sun' has always been bone chilling due to the stark contrast between the howling of the backup vocals and the choppy bass; the vocals being smooth and polished opposed to the grinding of the synthesizer. the lyrics are poetic and deliberate, not stopping due to breathing, but exaggerating the depth of field. the twittling guitar buzzes with energy, but rather than sprinting towards a refrain or chorus, it jogs in place idly. a standard high hat emerges from the ruckus in synthetic fashion, very close to a typical trance high hat. subsequently, the guitar dies down in spastic nature, picking a random cluster of notes on the way down to pick itself back up. the instrumentation fades away as the song shifts into an anthemic dance.

"note the trees because the dirt is temporary"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

deerhunter - agoraphobia

cryptograms was a fascinating record, but deerhunter's microcastle, just blows it out of the water. when nick gave me the record, he told me he wanted 'agoraphobia' to be played on his retrospective video... it's that good.

remember that hippie girl in high school, who would always request grateful dead songs at the dances? you know, the one who would bust out the 60's snorkel and throw scarves around in faux slow mo to half the tempo? deerhunter has apparently channeled that ora on microcastle; it's the beach boys without the beach. with heavily saturated guitars and bradford cox's dreamy vocals
, 'agoraphobia' is layered comparably to the six socks the hippie girl wore to make rainbows dance around her ankles. i'm puzzled as to how the song sounds so spotlessly clean in production, even though i'm positive i hear a tremolo'ed guitar in the back. when i play it back, i can never actually find the guitar; maybe it's only present in spirit, not totally unlike the girl from high school. i love the placating nature of the song despite the fact that i believe cox is asking to be thrown in jail in a solitary confinement chamber... so that's where all the hippies go?

and if the song wasn't erie enough, then they had to go and do a video with slow motion tango dancers?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

radiohead - gagging order

so i'm another year wiser, akin to this track.
'gagging order' is one of my favorite bsides by radiohead.
so simple for a band of such complexity.

in this one take miracle, a lone acoustic tinkers in a country style hammering technique. perhaps it's slightly off in timing because thom yorke didn't want any remixes. the vocals are slow, meditated, and reassuringly disarming. yorke's vocal presence marks him a worn out performer, maybe a magician whose 'illusions' have all been torn apart and discovered; yet for unknown reasons passers by continue to prod him for an song/act he performed years ago. instead of spitting in their faces, as he did in younger years, he only musters enough force to raise a hand and wave them away. while coursing through his routine
self-administering medication 'just to take the edge off' his normal day, he assures them, he is 'just a body, there's nothing left to see.' the most powerful thing to me about this song is despite his exhausted tone, you can still literally feel the much larger capacity and depth just below the surface.

apologies for the lack of posting, if you are reading

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

brand new - jesus christ

this track means a lot to me right now. i was honored when my guitar played this song on stage in front of me. thank you, jesse.

beginning with the solidarity of constant chords being plucked like worn out stairs, walked up and down in an almost death march pace. a hopeful lead emerges and gives the feel of the sun emerging from torrential rain. jesse lacey's vocals are almost uttered in poetic rhythm, somber and alone. as harmonic shards fade in and out of the song, nothing can break the momentum of the seemingly canned drums. this is the feel when you've lost control on the unfamiliar dark road you are speeding down. the look of your eyes straining to find where you will fall eventually as everything slows in a fatal slow motion blur. as the music builds, lacey's screams haunt you like the smell of the dust off the airbag. did you evade death or have you changed from the first person to the third?

where's my phoenix now?

Friday, May 29, 2009

van she - here with you

'here with you' is an electro-psych-surf-shoegaze track from the aussie band van she named after, (surprise!), the lead singer matt van schie.

a dark bass riff ala 'lust for life' beat emerges and gives way to a sprinkling of light percussion, akin to wind dancing upon roofs of grass huts. the vocals on the verses, begin with a robert plant bouncing technique and play on the surf rock guitars bending with phasers. invoking imagery of a lazy rave on a beach in the middle of the night; the sole illumination of the moon, comprised of thousands of glow sticks burning out and in, piercing the darkness. the movement stopping for a brief break before returning, the bass slopping like waves on the shore in a futile effort to tear the sand away. is the tide only unmasking what lies beneath?

"running out naked in the truth of you, only know the seas through the seasons of change, it will never be this good with you, it will never be this good again"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

thee more shallows - cloisterphobia

in one of those moods where i'm so overwhelmed things begin to slow down.
somehow 'cloisterphobia' by thee more shallows comes on and although it may not muster enough to soothe me, it calms me in the same vein as exhaling one of those long breaths to hear your ribcage pop.

'cloisterphobia' demonstrates thee more shallows ability to accent percussion in all of their instrumentation. all three of thee shallows are experienced drummers, by the way. from the interwoven softly plucked guitar, to the delicately whispered dialogue and the incessant tapping of a snare, everything is about timing. the swaying organic synth swoons over the already momentous moodiness, drafting this feeling that even though everything is put together so scrupulously, there is a clear undertone of laziness which encapsulates the whole thing. as songwriter dee kesler sings "to celebrate..." (bejeweled with sarcasm) the rhythm changes and a chorale with never ending vocal capacities strikes a hymnal tone until the choir faints and the song fades to fragmentation.

sardonic, in every sense of the word.

advance apologies about the video, it's probably a high school project.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

phoenix - wolfgang amadeus phoenix

there has been a good deal of internet buzz about phoenix's new album wolfgang amadeus phoenix. the title of the album and track 'lisztomania' tongue in cheek throwbacks to classical composers. a stab at the pomp behind classical composers, or nod back towards classical compositions?

wolfgang amadeus phoenix doesn't blaze new territories with the french quartet's signature blend of funk/pop/alt vibes, but they do employ some deep resonating synths to channel a darker shadow on their playful image. despite the dark texture, thomas mars' vocals remain unsinkable with syncopation, youth and naivety.

while many tracks dangle usual phoenix pop hooks, jangly guitar rhythms and skipping bass lines akin to sounds of united,
wolfgang amadeus phoenix finds the band more spatially aware. '1901' and 'lisztomania' will find you uncontrollably bobbing your head to tunes which could totally have been remixed off the band's first album with added guttural, buzzing synths. this new found sense of space will surely draw comparisons to another distant french cousin (air) with synthmospheric tracks like 'love like a sunset part 1' and the break near mid 'rome.' of course it goes without saying they will continue to be likened to the strokes, (although i hear more albert hammond jr).

wolfgang amadeus phoenix finds phoenix darker; but only for a moment like the short boy who walks into house of mirrors to make himself taller. phoenix's texture and imagination are what really adds to the depth.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

menomena - my my

'my my' is late track on menomena's friend or foe, a mixed up, yet cohesive and collective album.

starting with a warbling organ, twisted together with plinky acoustic guitar and swooping bass, the quirky nature of the song battles between the constant pull of the organ and cut/paste punch-ins. this spawns the spontaneity of shifting guitar parts and other random instruments including glockenspiels, synths and wood blocks. the song really has two crescendos relying on hushed campfire vocals to construct the climax. as the song fades, toy pianos shimmer, as if to reassure you it's just a dream. my favorite part though, is the distorted guitar sample which continually tries, (unsuccessfully), to offset the elements of the song.

no album version on youtube so here's a live version followed by a last.fm link for the album version.

Here is the last.fm link

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

kid loco - tracy (remix)

it's the beginning of the week and i'm really sick. i could barely think yesterday and i was surprised i was able to complete basic functions at work. today i've been sweating it out at home.

'tracy' was written mogwai and this interpretation by kid loco has always held me hostage. not in the bank robbery way with the gun to the back of your head, but in an eerie, calming manner. beginning with tribal congas and spacy synth sounds, the steady bass lead emerges, embroidered with twinkling piano arpeggios and what could be a phased out guitar. everything dissolves into one big swirling sound as the main drums kick in, with occasional unearthly synthesized whale calls. it's easy to find comfort in this ocean of noise.

Friday, May 15, 2009

torche - healer

in honor of alex's show at the showbox at the market, i'm going to post something a little more heavy.

torche is out of florida and despite the associations usually indicative of a florida band, they are a bulldozer. add 1 droning sympathetic string squeal, a pumpkins-like rhythm guitar with aggressive drumming ala dave grohl bringing me back to nirvana's glory days. as guttural and raw as 'healer' comes across, it still manages to sheen with gunmetal finish; you know, like that guy's car in high school with the hand painted skull.

happy friday

Thursday, May 14, 2009

the cinematics - keep forgetting

the cinematics are out of scotland. there are a number of reminders of their origin, whether it be a franz ferdinand-esque riff, bubbly bass or simple synths. 'keep forgetting' is off their arguably great lp a strange education, which blends spacey guitars ala u2, poppy vocals and mostly upbeat tracks.

if you want an idea of their sound, take a franz ferdinand verse guitar riff, add a chorus in the vein of dandy worhols and overlay vocals from kele from bloc party. the result isn't a sound you've never heard, but it's polished and constructed solidly. and i would be shocked if you don't have "there's something i keep forgetting..." stuck in your head.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

rilo kiley - the good that won't come out

another wave of melancholy and i'm listening to rilo kiley.

a canned beat, with a dancy guitar lead open up 'the good that won't come out,' a testimonial to lost potential. being a child star, jenny lewis doesn't sing with empathy, (no one ever said stars were always happy). add a slide guitar and throw down a rambling rhythm section in the end; you've got a hard hitting, passionate and honest song.

Monday, May 11, 2009

muse - new born

muse is a band out of britain, who routinely sells out stadiums in other countries and has only recently blown up in the u s of a. 'knights of cydonia' crafted muse's sound as futuristic surf rock, while 'super massive black hole' found likeness in britney spears, but, come on, their sound is much more complex than either of those comparisons.

'new born' is off
the origin of symmetry, muse's second album, which finds them pulling from a broader range of influences.

beginning melodically with chiming piano and bubbly bass; the song finally gives into it's more brutal dark side with a dirty guitar mirrored by the bass. the guitar flavourings ranging from hard rock riffage, to skanky chicken scratching, then to full blown open chords; this song blends all these stylings together flawlessly. matt bellamy's vocal range is incredible, bordering on the operatic level.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

logh - yellow lights mean slow down, not speed up

logh is a band out of sweden. pretty much unheard of west of the atlantic. my friend jason, passed this track to me; i'm not quite sure how he found them.

'yellow lights mean slow down, not speed up' is off their album everytime a bell rings an angel gets his wings'. the track opens with a soft lullaby guitar lead while a saturated rhythm guitar sheds single strums. as the song picks up a slide guitar gently sweeps into the frame and it carries the thematic melody until the distorted outro. the vocals remain hushed mutterings about neon lights and what quite possibly could be the future. difficult to understand, but then again the whole concept is abstract.

Monday, May 04, 2009

air - universal traveler

this song, off air's talkie walkie, is a calmer display of the band's repertoire. their mix of techno and acoustic guitar sculpts a sound which soothes the soul similarly to a mother robot beeping a lullaby her human baby. the constant click of the wood blocks and thumping of obvious electronic percussion, make way for the occasional synth which glides effortlessly over the melody of the guitar. the vocals maintain a distance with robotic like jumping within keys, but breathe in androgynous tones.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

sigur ros - untitled 3

yep, it's been a long month. yet short at the same time.
i'm feeling mixed up and listening to a sigur ros track,
"untitled 3" off the album (); reminding me to slow down and take everything in. the simple and melodic piano draws deeper breaths, like a slow lapswimmer training to span the atlantic ocean. waves of ebow'ed strings and synths build slower than any squall imaginable. rather than throw the dedicated swimmer off, the swells build the speed and seem to even stretch time itself in the same sense as a flipbook effect triggers our persistence of vision.

slow, delicate and breathtaking.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

say hi - one, two... one

say hi continues to amaze me with his relevance and sincerity; even through sarcasm. add these to his other claims to fame: he can write an albums worth of material about vampires; signature self deprecating humor and his blend of poppy, upbeat and goth-esque at the same time.

this is a track off his newest
oohs and aahs entitled 'one, two... one'. it's bluesy rooted guitar hooks in front of the mashed keys and pep band drums, (which for the record are done with reason and still sound damn live). on the new album eric's vocals have this ghostly reverb presence which almost appears before he sings.

this should be his next single (hint, hint)

youtube won't embed, so check out the album version here

or below for a live performance

Monday, April 27, 2009

beck - lost cause

my favorite track off 2002's sea change, beck tosses aside his silly side to craft a seriously thematic, country-esque track. this testimonial references so many of those who have been in a failing relationship despite the best of their efforts. 'lost cause' is the wake of calm felt after the fighting; a deep understanding that further actions are useless and surprising enough, the collapse is much more alluring than imagined.

pieced together by clips of vocal snippets, the brilliance of simple plucked acoustic guitar strings and laid back vocals, 'lost cause' reiterates the fragility and beauty in relationships.

Friday, April 24, 2009

the national - brainy

it's friday and i feel upbeat, optimistic and a little silly. in that light i'm going to post about a song which shines in my current mood and sticks out in a dark and sarcastic album (i'm not putting the album down).

as many other bands i'm in love with, the national still practices the lost art of creating albums. yes, an album used to be a collection of songs which fit together in a holistic sense to craft a story, sentiment or just a theme. currently the music industry is shying away from albums since the popularity of singles has risen during the current digital age.

the national's boxer from two years ago was from start to finish a complete album. backed by a dark canvas, boxer has moments of seriousness, silliness, optimism, pessimism, honesty, sarcasm and overall drunkenness. the track i'm posting 'brainy' is possibly just an inner dialogue of a boyfriend trying to impress his lady with booksmarts. the persistent upbeat drum work is the spine of the main character, the churping guitar falling like streetlights onto him. horns envelop this picture, distinct but only from an arm's length.

happy friday

Thursday, April 23, 2009

working for a nuclear free city - je suis le vent

working for a nuclear free city is a band that i randomly came upon while perusing a sonic boom records store. their texture, complexity and diversity within their music is astounding. businessmen and ghosts is an inexpensive and gigantic catalog of their style which blends most elements of modern alt rock with techno and even club music at times.

the song which translates to 'i am the wind' in french, immediately invokes aerial imagery of scattered city lights at night, sparkling and winking while cold wind holds the aircraft in place. the feeling of isolation starkly contrasted with an inner warmth and comforting nature.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

modeselektor - happy birthday

in recognition of my friend adam's birthday today, i'm putting up a song entitled 'happy birthday' off modeselektor's incredible album happy birthday. the song progresses from an airy lead which builds and builds until you are swept off your feet with a warbling synth. the commotion is finally brought back down to earth with kraftwerk-esque bleeps.

happy birthday, my figga

Monday, April 20, 2009

mother mother - hayloft

very excited about this band from vancouver b.c. they just released their second album in two years. this track comes off o my ♥, an eclectic, thoroughly layered and youthful record. the album, is fantastic from start to finish and their live show leaves nothing more to desire.

both o my ♥ and their previous touch up are amazing and can be replayed for hours, do yourself a favor and check them out.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

shearwater - 'rooks'

so, i've had a new idea, which i'm going to post songs from bands i believe to be excellent discoveries and see what you think.

shearwater is a band from austin, texas which found two members from okkervil river collaborating. there recent album rook blended jonathan meiburg's knowledge of ornithology, haunting vocals and guitars and dulcimers.

i hope you like it

here is my favorite from rook entitled