Tuesday, September 30, 2008
That is exactly what has happened on "Everything that Will Happen will Happen Today", Brian Eno once again carves a careful soundscape of melodies, beats, and whimsical genius, with the songwriting genius of David Byrne, present at a level we haven't seen in over ten years. Important themes like violence in society, terrorism and domestic issues skirt around an album that beamingly is two musicians reveling in their craft. There are mostly mid or downtempo songs here, but these guys are seasoned enough to make every song an aural journey worth taking, whether it feels like a sweeping retrospective, a nice sit on the back porch in a rocking chair, or a casual visit to a night club, you can't help but say "They've still got it!"
David Byrne & Brian Eno Official Site
David Byrne & Brian Eno - I Feel My Stuff
David Byrne & Brian Eno - Strange Overtones
Mt Sims Myspace
Mt Sims - Dig it In
Mt Sims - The Bitten Bite Back
Twan Van Hovi is a chameleon. Twan Von Hovi rhymes with "Jon Bon Jovi". Twan Von Hovi hails from Houston Texas. Twan Von Hovi usees electro/rock stylings to push music that at times sounds like TV on the Radio, The Postal Service, David Bowie and Bauhaus in a blender on high. The music is menacing and fun all at once, switching from instrumental tracks to songs with little to no warning. A veritable carnival of sounds and I've a free ride listed below.
Twan Von Hovi - From My Heart to Yours
Twan Von Hovi - Addictionary
Twan Von Hovie Myspace
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I first heard Mason Proper at an old radio station meeting as the staff were doling out new CD's for the club members to review. I heard the first few seconds of "A Chance Encounter" off of their acclaimed debut CD "There is a Moth in Your Chest", and once I heard the swooshing sythesizer and echo affected vocals, I was intrigued. Upon further examination the album proved to have many gems, among which were the manic synth driven "Lights Off" and thier hyper guitar heavy jam "My My (Bad Fruit)", that was reminiscent somewhat of the Pixies, but with a smidge of synth . The album went on to become one of my top albums of 2007.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan group released a stylistically impressive EP entitled "Shorthand" earlier this year and a few stylistically impressive videos to match. As of September 23, 2008, the band have a new album out entitled "Olly Olly Oxen Free". The biggest thing I noticed upon the first listen is that Mason proper have adopted a "Less is more" philosophy on this record. Gone are the wild tempos and reckless sounds. Everything here is carefully constructed. Thats not to say that there aren't experimental sounds to be heard on this record, in fact there are some sounds on here that are as satisfying as anything the Mason Proper crew has assembled. The sound overall is much more premeditated, and dare I say, even pretty. Jonathan Visgr's capable vocals soar to the front of the mix showing that he can make mid-tempo rockers pump and writhe, and the locking bass drum combo accentuates the pulse of each song perfectly. Don't fret, those glorious keys and piano that made "There is a Moth in Your Chest" so exciting aren't absent, making a strong showing on "Only a Moment" and "Shiny". Mason Proper have even added in some horns on some tracks to expand thier musical pallete. They've made a much more cohesive album than their debut, one you could easilly find yourself lost in it for hours. Mason Proper are on top of their game, at their quirky crazy best, and confident enough not to hit you over the head with that fact.
Mason Proper - Fog
Mason Proper - Shiny
Mason Proper Myspace
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Killer's Hot Fuss was a smorgasbord of delicious pop music accessible to many, and delectable for me because of the focus on the use of the keyboard and post punky rhythms, plus a smidge of vocoder on "Smile Like You Mean It". It sounds cliche, but I was definitely one of those people who "Liked them before they got really popular", but I did, they opened for stellastarr* back in the day and I liked stellastarr* so I checked them out, and lo and behold they were pretty good. Their debut album stands as one of the biggest stylistic statements, and certainly one of the most commercially successful albums of the mid 2000's that didn't depend on a gutteral moan and drop d tuned plucking and grunging or power chords and a whiney voice echoing the frustrations of the pre-teen upper middle class. As that, they need to be commended, but somewhere along the way, they found themselves and mutated into a country/classic rock version of themselves leaving an army of fans saying "Bruce Springsteen?" and wishing for "David Bowie". "Sam's Town" wasn't a bad album by any means, and stylistic progression is commendable. Novelty moustaches are always good for a laugh, but where are The Killers that stole my heart and my money to become one of the biggest bands in the world?
Those Killers stand poised to reclaim their throne, Brandon is de-moustached and once again clothed in lounge-chic sport coats and dress pants. They have a new single, and ,if anything, "Human" brings the electronics and dance beats back into play without sacrificing their newfound sound and Brandon's new, more earnest, vocal style. This could be the second coming of The Killers. Brace yourselves, only time will tell.
The Killers - Human
The truth behind Bayside’s fourth full record, Shudder, is that it is all it was hoped to have retained: incredible wit, foot-stomping beats and haunting melodies, accompanied with a sense of aggression, hope, hopelessness, disdain, love and loss. The songs on Shudder are melancholy, but the band tries to tell us that, regardless of the facts at hand, things will be OK in the end.
The album is a bit more optimistic than their previous releases, but captures the dark emotional side of the band, as their other albums have. Shudder takes us back to its punk roots, with songs “Rochambo (Rock, Paper, Scissors)” and Bayside spells out their apathy and misery with its acoustic “Moceanu”. Shudder has its ups and downs, both literally and figuratively; the album starts off strong with “Boy”, which picks up nicely, where the band’s previous album, The Walking Wounded, left off. The 12 songs on Shudder make up a collective whole with remnants of albums in the past, though not as anthemic as some of their previous work. “The Ghost of St. Valentine”, one of my personal favorites from the album, is a song about being stuck thinking about why a relationship went sour and kicking oneself for delving too deep, including the melancholy lyrics, “There is no love just appetite / and it’s consequences keep you up at night. / Well, appetite is lust at best / and it’s up to us to figure out the rest.”
Essentially what makes Long Island-based Bayside such a distinguishable band from a lot of other music out there, is front man Anthony Ranieri’s heartbreaking lyrics intertwined with tremendous apathy. The song “I Think I’ll Be OK”, one that was demoed on their tour earlier this year with Alkaline Trio, can be found on YouTube, and gave fans (or members of the ‘Bayside Cult’) a taste of what was to come on the new album. If you know Bayside at all, you know that most of the songs that Bayside writes are introspective; the songs hardly remark about the world, but rather the hopeless relationships and personal failures that are being grappled with. But again, the songs end up on a positive note, especially on Shudder, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Shudder, overall, is about happiness over heartbreak, and finding yourself in the world and realizing your place in it. The album drops September 30th on Victory Records.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
It's bands like Desmond and the Tutus that make me glad that I run a music blog. Without this blog I never would have found out about them. Nor would I be as educated on famous South African clerics. The South African quartet takes their name from the Nobel Peace Prize, Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, and Ghandi Peace Prize winning Cleric who became the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa. He was a staunch opponent of apartheid. Fun cultural references like that in band titles are always welcome.
On to the music though, Desmond and the Tutus' sound is something like The Modern Lovers and Art Brut playing some African style bass. If you like the poly-rhythms of Vampire Weekend, chances are you'll enjoy this band as well. I found myself listening through each song on their album "Tuckshop" and thinking to myself "They've got my number! but how?", because there is a song on here about loving synthesizers and wearing New Order t-shirts, "German Modern", and a song about competitive swimming, "Saggy Bottom Speedo Swimmer", which both speak to me because I am both a connoisseur of synthesizers and a competitive swimmer. It's not just that they're speaking to me though, each song has such vitality and personality that it's sure to win you over. Give them a try. They're my new favorite South African band... of course before I heard them I didn't know any South African bands... but that doesn't make them any less awesome. For real.
Desmond and the Tutus - Peter
Desmond and the Tutus - German Modern
Desmond and the Tutus Myspace
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Marc Ustari - Unbelievable
To top it off, Marc Ustari even has a bangin' remix of Data's "Rapture" on his Myspace. So just mosey on over and enjoy.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Data - Rapture (ft Sebastien Grainger)
Data - Rapture pt. II
Data - Rapture (Edwin Van Cleef Remix)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The Sonixx are a new one man electro group out of Montreal, Canada, whose debut EP "Sex, Drugs and Electro" is full of string washes and split second classic house shout outs and grinding synth bass. If you're intrigued, the EP is now available for purchase on his Myspace via paypal.
The Sonixx - I See The Light
Friday, September 12, 2008
You might be familiar with the Bones Television show, I admit I’ve watched a couple episodes and I found it to be enjoyable. The series stars Emily Deschanel (Yes Zooey Deschanel’a older sister) as Dr. Temperance Brennan and David Boreanaz as FBI agent Seeley Booth. I bet David Boreanaz is glad to be able to shoot during the day now that his iconic stint on the popular Buffy and Angel TV series are over (for now at least?Movie?). I think comparisons to those shows is a fair jumping off point for the series. Dire circumstances? Check. Witty Banter? Check. Quirky characters? Check. Will they won’t they sexual tension? Absolutely. If you’re looking for a good turn on the old cops and robbers tale with fresh twist, check out bones airing on a FOX network near you Monday nights 8:00pm EST.
Why am I writing about a TV show on a music blog? Well, it just so happens that I was privileged enough to be able to listen to the new album and give you guys the lowdown on it. Like many television series out there, Bones has really got its act together regarding sound tracking their shows. Exhibit A: Crystal Method composed their theme song. For me, that was enough to give it a listen. Other notable acts include Sinead O’Connor, Placebo (covering Kate Bush), Stereophonics, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cary Brothers and a remix of Sarah McLachlan by the Thievery Corporation. The album’s emotionally charged “end sequence” songs vary in quality but overall there’s a nice mix. The album falls into a bit of a lull as it pulls around the ¾ mark, but it finishes strongly with two solid remixes. If you like the show and you like these Artists I’ve been talking about, check out the album.
In tandem with my feature of the Bones television soundtrack, I’m offering a CD contest. That’s right, I’ve got a copy of the original soundtrack and it could be yours. Here’s where things get a little interesting. In order to receive the free CD what you have to do is draw up a design featuring our flagship character Wesley the Robot as depicted below.
There are no limits on what media you can use, from crayon to digital, to coffee staining to collage. It’s wide open. Just make sure that the drawing/rendering/sketch resembles the original design for Wesley. The deadline for this contest will be Sept 30th. The winner will be announced within a week of the deadline. So check back often. You can go nuts with it. Remember, if you draw something in 5 minutes and send it to me (at email@example.com) and no one else submits anything, you win. So with that, I wish you luck and I hope you have as much fun drawing Wesley as I do.The Crystal Method - Bones Theme (DJ Coporation Remix)
Stereophonics - It Means Nothing
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
This past weekend I once again made the tumultuous trip to Rochester, NY to see Walter Meego and Ra Ra Riot at the Bug Jar. Whose owner, I must add, is a very kind gentleman. There was an opener who went by the name John Moses, who played acoustic guitar and harmonica, he was decent, but not the flavor I was looking for in Roc city. Such is the plight of the opening act.
Walter Meego soon took the stage, adorned with Mickey Mouse T-shirts. They launched into a noisy rendidition of "Wanna Be a Star" that was largely devoid of drum machine, so I feared that I was viewing a repeat of the White Williams show where the band would sound nothing like the CD. Not always a bad thing, but when the Band's CD is amazing, it's kind of a let down. Luckily as soon as the guitar reverb faded, Justin Sconza stepped out from behind a tower of Korg keyboards and stood behind a table that had what looked to be million little gadgets. He started gyrating behind the table, indicating that, yes ladies and gentlemen, the beats were about to drop. And they did, and it was good, amen.
The band unleashed some great songs from their debut album "Voyager", including; "Lost", their Heinekin hit "Forever", "Girls", my brooding favorite "Letting Go", and the show highlight; the face-melting club destroyer "Keyhole". Seriously, when I heard the break before the guitar solo, I turned to my girlfriend and said "Oh snap, it's on!". For real. The band ended with the slower song "Your Love", which kind of surprised me considering that they are an electronic/dance/pop act, but their sound was fantastic, and I didn't mind having my eardrums soothed with some sweet sweet synthesizers.
Ra Ra Riot the "Upstate New York Heroes" were next on the ticket and they literally came in the backdoor and brought their equipment with them. The drummer even had to push through the crowd to get to his kit. You've got to admire that kind of Pragmatism. Once all the equipment was on the stage, the band sound checked all of the instruments, allowing us to hear some of the violin and cello chops of the band's lovely ladies.
The amicably charming Wesley Miles (Hey, nice name) took the stage and politely apologized for taking so long, and then the band roared into some energetic songs off of their new album, "The Rhumb Line". Their songs seemed to cast a magic spell on the kids who had, oddly, stood still with their arms crossed occasionally pushing thier black square framed glasses up their noses during Walter Meego. The kids were now actually bobbing their heads. Very Strange. Highlights of the show included, a stirring version of "Ghosts Under Rocks", Their new single "Dying is Fine" (To which a green shirted bearded man seemed to be testifying to with his hands in the air, reciting the song lyric for lyric), and my favorite song of their set, "Too Too Too Fast", whose lyrics of frustration over love and eyes (What a great combo), a great violin riff, and of course ample use of John Hughes era keyboards. Despite some equipment malfuntions (Cello amp broke), Ra Ra Riot returned to play an encore of "Hounds of Love" originally by Kate Bush. They put on a fitting warm up show for their high profile hometown gig Sunday at Syracuse University's Juice Jam opening for Bloc Party.
Walter Meego - Keyhole
Walter Meego - Letting Go
Walter Meego - Through A Keyhole (Le Castle Vania Remix)
Walter Meego Myspace
Ra Ra Riot - Ghost Under Rocks
Ra Ra Riot - Dying is Fine
Ra Ra Riot - Too Too Too Fast
Ra Ra Riot Myspace
Friday, September 5, 2008
death from above 1979 - little girl - mr vega remix
In addition to this fine remix, here is some more work by the elusive Mr. Vega.
Mr. Vega - Apart of Me
Mr. Vega - Blue Exit
Mr. Vega - Disco on the Menu
Lykke Li - Dance, Dance, Dance (Dada Life Guerilla Fart #4)
Lykki Li Myspace
Backed by his bionic band the Juniors, Eugene Francis Jnr professes to discard effects and "21st century bunk" and play with a weak voice with a strong passion, the latter I don't doubt, but the man's sonics are akin to The Flaming Lips, with a distinct electronic psychedelic edge. Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, his modest vocals, optomistic lyrics, and penchant for clear crisp melodies sound pretty good.
His latest album is "The Golden Beatle" is available at Amazon.
Eugene Francis Jnr - Poor Me (Radio Edit)
Eugene Francis Jnr Myspace
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Love Motel - Dial God (USA)
Love Motel - Cosmic Love (Fisk Remix)
Love Motel - Nothing Hurts (Shane Fontane Remix)
Love Motel - Mind the void (Baxter Beez edit)
Love Motel Myspace
First there's the new Nikon D60:
This is what the market wants you to believe is the more utilitarian camera amongst a sea of entry level DSLRS. As it costs about 50 dollars less. All the reviews on it are glowing, saying it can stand up to the punishment that many photographers will put it through. It's got a stop motion capability built right into the camera which is neat.
Then there's the Canon Rebel XSi.
I used my friend's Rebel XTi last semester for some of my photo projets and I loved it. This year I was seriously thinking of just picking up an XTi and using that, but then I thought, "Why get an older model when I can get the super cool new model?" So I checked out the XSi and review places like Cnet seem to think it's an improvement over the previous model and that the Canon outshines the Nikon in image quality. Which is really why you get a bigger camera like this in the first place. For serious. Plus I like to buy American.
So I'm submitting this to you my readers to give me your opinions on the matter, if you know even less than I do, well, just look at the two cameras and tell me which one you think looks cooler. In the meantime I will upload a few camera and photography related songs for you to enjoy.
Spoon - I Turn My Camera on (John McEnentire Remix)
Editors - Camera (SebastiAn Remix)
Shiny Toy Guns - Photograph
Air - Photograph
Action Action - Photograph
Good Shoes - Photos on My Wall
Depeche Mode - Photographic [Some Bizzare Version]
The Faint - Some Incriminating Photographs
Belle and Sebastian - Photo Jenny
Monday, September 1, 2008
Emile Simon - Space Oddity (David Bowie Cover)
Emile Simon Myspace
P.S. Check out her amazing promotional photos! For serious.
Monsters Are Waiting - I Wanna Be Adored (Stone Roses Cover)
Monsters Are Waiting Myspace
Horse Shoes is an indie pop group that draws inspiration from 80's alternative pop bands like The Smiths, New Order, and more contemporary groups like Starflyer 59. The culmination of these influences is sublime chiming pop music with a smidge of the irony and emotion of Morrissey and all of the gentle ringing melodies and fragile vocals one might find similar to early New Order. They are currently working on their debut EP.
Horse Shoes - Imperial School
Horse Shoes - I Can't Decide
Horse Shoes Myspace