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 link for the album version.

Here is the 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.