Sunday, March 1, 2009
When the thought of a Cocteau Twins post crossed my mind, it was during a caffeine fueled burst of creativity. The coffee gave me the power to not only process delinquent invoices, but to also wax poetically via the company email directory. The nearby 20-30 somethings, who I mingled with, saw me as some sort of freak. I honestly can't blame them, conventionality was the last thing from my mind. In fact, I would carelessly draw wacky wizards, dragons, and elves on ms paint for my enjoyment during an especially slow day.
First, I was going to make an ornate banner, which would be ethereal, to say the least. If you notice it above the text, feel free to judge it for yourself. Then I was going to make a mix, which would span their entire careers. It would make unfamiliar fans fanatics and it would also try to turn people on to this band, who have a significantly large and imposing discography under their belt.
Their early career is influential, as it has come to represent the ideals within the "Goth" music movement. In the subsequent years several bands for better or for worst have shaped the meaning and ideals of "Goth." More appropriately the Cocteau Twins were a "dream pop" group with post punk/Goth leanings. I honestly despise musical investigations that are purely focused on genre studies.
The album Treasure is when the group finally reached an epoch. The song writing style on this album went on to define the Cocteau Twins throughout their career, as it texturally became dream-like. This band seemed to care less about the fact that they lacked a drummer. They used the drum machine (the most loved and hated musical instrument) as a completely separate percussively versatile tool that is to say: the drum machine was used to make sounds, that were out of the traditional, acoustic drum set's range. Sometimes, however, they did use a traditional drum set, depending on the song.
In the early 90's they released Heaven or Las Vegas, which is actually my favorite album. This album crosses into an even more accessible territory. Several singles off of this album grazed the UK top 40. This album was indicative of a long persistent and largely successful career. This band influenced a young Bjork in the hills of Norway and young Harriet Wheeler in Manchester. It also influenced a young Lisa Gerrard in the fields of Australia. Actually, I dont know if it really influenced Dead Can Dance, but they are definetly contemporaries. In fact, they are both integral members of the 4AD supergroup This Mortal Coil.
Cocteau Sequence: click either here or on the image
And now the Tracklistings:
2.) Orange Appled
5.) Iceblink Luck
6.) My Love Paramore
7.) Sultitan Itan
8.) Wax and Wane
9.) Seekers Who are Lovers
12.) Cico Bluff
13.) Circling Girl
14.) Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fire
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I did not intend to write about Roisin Murphy. In fact, I forgot about her, as she exists merely as a musician ( one of many) on my ipod. This was going to be about the My Bloody Valentine Sunday Sundae Smile E.P.
Why the picture above (with Roisin)? It can be explained as simply as Typing "Sunday Sundae Smile" in the Google Image search. Before, we change gears and talk about MBV, we should take a second and think about the picture above. First of all, The colors are vivid; intense shades of yellow and orange surround the beautiful and ethnically diverse singers. It's politically correct and beautiful. Also, the girls in the picture are hot. If I met a girl, who happened to look like that and was in Roisin Murphy's backing band, I would do everything in my power to...( I must stop there, because It was going in that direction)
The Sunny Sundae Smile EP (click to download a rip of the vinyl: VBR) was released before their albums and as you would imagine, it represents and poppier manifestation of the group. If you listen closely, you can hear the the massive wall of noise burgeoning from beneath these light-hearted poppy jams. Also, when I say "pop," it is relative to MBV's more notable material (Loveless, Isn't Anything, etc.)
Sunday, January 25, 2009
This band is just one guy: Nathan Williams. This is album is most likely out. It's self titled (Wavves by Wavves). Note the additional "v" in the name.
First and foremost, this album is really f*cking loud. When I was on the bus listening to this, I turned it down slightly, because for once in my life, I actually felt sorry for my ear drums. The loudness may be viewed as a gimmick, which actually works well for the band. Behind the clipping tracks, fuzzed out instruments, and distorted beats are some wonderfully, catchy songs. In unison the sound with the songwriting deliver an A+ combo. The singing is complimented by the overdriven overtones of the voice create an ominous albiet loud melodic finish. Two coats! one coat being the voice, and the second being the fuzzy guitars. Well, now that I think about there three coats. I hate this analogy to paint...what-eva! Furthermore, this dude might be touring and since he is not as popular as Phil Collins or Modest Mouse, tickets are most likely reasonable. I personally am going to check this out.
Would you like to hear this band? easy easy click the link and enjoy! (fingers crossed)
Wavves So Bored E.P.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Having decided to compile this almost obligatory(to myself and the fledgling integrity of this "blog") list, I chose to wait until the dust has settled on 2008. After all, this allows one to carefully examine other lists from various sources such as: friends, magazine, web-zines, blogs, casual glimpses at mass-mailing from record stores. I have noticed that this year in music does not live up to the previous years. Maybe that's stigma closely related to the feeling of nostalgia, which over values experiences past. This stigma does not allow for a close enough analysis of this year as far as amazing albums go. People have tried creating top fives, top three's, top tracks, etc. in order to readdress this "top ten year end list" phenomena. I try, for my own records mostly, to make these lists, while at the same time considering the sociological impact of these albums. The result more often than not is ...failure. From that point on, I viewed my top ten lists purely a personal endeavor. The practice of abbreviating the year in music by others have affected my own top ten lists. A brilliant if not perfect example comes from a friend of mine named Rob Chandeliers. Below is a peak at his list (note the Robjectivity taking place):
Nice read, eh?!
"Honorable Mention:Monotonix - "Body Language" (Drag City)
hype deserved. nutbars live show that i imagine gets old around the third time you see it. the EP is NOTHING NEW, just zepplin-y riffs and hilariously broken english lyrics, but it's infinitely listenable.
Radiohead - "In Rainbows" (Interwebz)
wait, did this happen last year? whatever. i still can't get into this snoooooozefest past the first two songs.
BEST NEWS OF THE YEAR :
the jesus lizard set to reunite and tour with their original line-up next year (and re-issue all their good albums on vinyl!)
dudes, i'ma be out like lindsey at the end of freaks and geeks following these motherfucks like they were widespread panic.
Best Old Find of the Year:
do you guys listen to Form of Rocket? that band fucking rules. it's like, kids listen to every time i die but don't know bands like Form of Rocket. what is wrong with kids? they should be listening to bands from salt lake city whose songs have been know to include catchy choruses like "i'm gonna/beat my/woman/til i'm satisfied" (Makes sense in context.)
Worst News of the Year:
The bass player for Vampire Weekend's amp doesn't make ANY SOUND. what the fuck is wrong with that band.
- runner up: the yankous and will changed their band name FROM Balls Balls Balls Vagina. what the fuck is wrong with that band.
Worst Old Find of the year:
man i can't stand that battles record anymore.
well, i'm done jerking off. this was fun!
Why did I choose this excerpt exactly? The answer is simple: this section is what I immediately jumped to after giving his entire post a scant overview. He curses like a sailor and he likes to rock pretty hard, which are characteristics that make him my kinda guy. Earlier in his post he gave his "props" to several "brutal" and "crushing" rock acts: Race Bannon, Boris, New Brutalism to name a few. He also gave praise to the TV on the Radio, which was a little out of place. Imagine if there was a bill with Race Bannon, Boris, New Brutalism, and TV on the Radio. The only plus of that arrangement is that with TV on the Radio on the bill, there might be girls at the show. Moving Along, This more or less award ceremony that Mr. Chandelier engages in seems to be the most interesting part of his post. Immediately, He goes into mentioning obscure bands (Monotonix), then a quick insult at the legendary Radiohead (this album came out more than a year ago, mind you), and a brief mentioning of an off-kilter rock band with edgy lyrics (Form of Rocket). He does all this with the revelation of a Jesus Lizard reunion. To me a great post, which lacks the objectivity, but posses the narrative knack that accurately corresponds to this author's personality. In summation Rob Chandeliers or more commonly, Rob Montage strikes again. Whatever, dude!?
Another year-end list worthy of mention comes from an associate of mine that goes by Blaise Cronin. Although, he did not write it he was accredited with this list purely because he supplied me the link: Popless Epilogue 2.
I will spare the details, because you should actually take a gander at it. It has the top songs of the year with a neat little miniplayer which plays the songs for you. Also, with these song snippets there is a brief review about the song for better or worst.
Take his analysis of Jay Reatard:
There was way too much Reatard in '08 for me to make sense of it all, and since I wasn't previously aware of Jay Lindsey's half-dozen other bands and solo projects, it's going to take a while for me to get up to speed and figure out where I stand. In a nutshell, I'd say that I'm not entirely convinced that Lindsey's prolific nature serves his music all that well, though the preponderance of memorable melodies and exuberant sound on Jay Reatard's two '08 singles collections is clearly indicative of an artist working at such a peak that he's unwilling to stem the tide, even when leaves behind a lot of flotsam. Can't say I blame him, actually.Couldn't have said it better myself. I almost got punched in the face at his concert and some nasty bugger stole my blue scarf.
Enough with the stories! It is time to unveil my best of 2008:
1.) Deerhunter: Microcastle/ Weird Era Cont.
As the name indicates, it is a double album. With this format the band seemed to be free to explore various musical landscapes. These landscapes venture off into the shoe gaze territory. The result being good drug music. In a nest of reverberated vocals and guitars your mind will slowly drift into outer space with little intent on returning back. In fact, as Todd Rundgren once said " If you haven't got time to rest, turn the record off now." The first several tracks from either album hit it out of the park. Idioms aside tracks like "Agoraphobia" and "Operation" have the potential to sneak their way on my top tracks of the year (see the post script). These tracks exemplify the albums diversity. At times it does not even seem like the same band, which may initially seem to be a set back. However, there is a sense of identity among these tracks, which makes these songs clearly their own. The subtleties in the various production techniques on each track enable this band to cross over into different realms (that is not to say that they do reggaeton or hip-hop). Instead these realms are categorized by the diversity of texture, which occur on the album. A good example is in the track "Dot Gain". It begins as a song focused on percussion, because of the the multiple percussion tracks and the vocals being very low in the mix. As the track progresses the vocals turn into a ghostly drone and the guitars become louder in the mix, and before you know it you are immersed in a swirl of guitars and angelic, ethereal voices.
2.) Cut Copy: In Ghost Colours
There isn't much to be said about the innovation behind this album. In fact, most of the conventions employed by this album have been used previously. That isn't to say that this album is nonetheless amazing. What this album lacks in musical innovation it makes up for in good song writing. Every song on this album is good and the transition tracks between the "songs" are notable as well. With these transitions the flow of this album is so smooth that each track bleeds into the other. As far as the sound of this album goes, it is very 80's (dance beats, synth bass lines, etc.). Ameliorated by the productions styling of DFA's Tim Goldsworthy each song is as punchy as it is poppy, which creates songs that will be in your head for hours on end. In fact, after a month or owning this record I found myself listening through at least once every other day.
Admittingly, I have not listened to this album as much as I would have liked, but after several listens the importance of this album shines through. The verdict is that Portishead has and will continue to innovate and develop their sound, which is unique and unparalleled by even the most adventurous modern acts. Ghostly vocals and electric beats paint an erie composition . This arrangement is characteristic of Portishead's old sound, but with the inclusion of a wider variety of electronic conventions Portishead successfully looks ahead towards the future
4.) Stereolab: Chemical Chords Can these guys ever mess up? Alluding to 60's french pop coupled with modern production techniques. You can't go wrong with this combo. "Daisy Click Clack" is a perfect example of this deadly combination (This can be found on the mix: see below)
5.) Hercules & Love Affair: S/T- Feel the funk and those wet wet drums. Sound like someone submerged the marraccas. Yet another Tim Goldsworthy production job which appears on this list. Antony guests on several songs in this album, which creates this '85 New York club sound which is nothing but infections. Subtle Horns and several polyrhythmic percussion tracks create intricate and at times dense dance grooves. If this fails to even incite a toe-tap, then you clearly have no soul.
6.) The Walkmen: You & Me- Murky and dank these two word pretty much sum up this album. All in all a valiant effort on behalf of this seemingly consistent rock-outfit. They put on a great show and deliver an adequate amount of energy. If you are a fan of The Walkmen, you will most likely love this album. Sounds great on vinyl!
7.) Snowman: The Horse, the Rat, and the Swan
Finding music like this is really life-affirming. Hidden away in some remote corner of the world there is a band, which exits to bemuse even the darkest of hearts. The dark trance that this album puts you in is reminiscent of other Aussie acts like Dead Can Dance (not as worldly). At times this album ventures onto the heavier side of things similar to Birthday Party (also, Aussie). Note that it is a similarity rather than a carbon copy. This band's ability to be dark, brooding, and at times beautiful make them one of the best acts of 2008. It is really depressing and at times scary, but these moods only intensify the listening experience. Additionally, one of the singers sounds like a vampire, which is good, because vampires are so in right now! Seriously, this guy might actually be a vampire, which is not good. I must know slay this demonic hell beast!
8.) Vampire Weekend: S/T
The inclusion of this band is a "f*ck you!" to my friends that ridicule me because I like this album. I am not going to apologize for their catchiness and infectious song smith-ing. In fact, isn't that what makes an album good; a neatly crafted rhythm, pretty melodies, and smooth vocals. It's not the best music out there and it even out-stayed its welcome, but every now and then, I put on "Cape-Cod Kwassa Kwassa" and let the good times roll.
9.) Flying Lotus: Los Angeles
Perhaps, this is the future of music. It makes sense, because it would take an alien from the future to be able to distinguish the f*cked up time signatures. It would also require an additional alien to be able to decipher the seemingly endless layers of noise. At times there is a groove or driving beat. In fact, there are a lot of "dope beats" happening here. Hopefully, this will influence the hip-hop community. There are moments when the beats are reminiscent of madlib, but then they go into outerspace with the endless layers and slightly offbeat grooves. Hopefully the future of music is unquantized.
10.) Krallice: S/T
One of if not the only black metal releases I really dug this year. The average song length is over ten minutes. These ten minutes do not include "space out" interludes, instead they are just overwhelming blast beats. The vocals on this album are mixed well. They act as a compliment to the evil dark chasm of music, rather than sounding like some orc that frequents D&D conventions (not that there's anything wrong with that), they sound like a hell beast falling into the abyss of darkness. The opus entitled "Forgiveness in a Rot" is 15 minute barrage of blast beats and unequivocal evil. What do you expect from a black metal band? The genre rarely strays away, however the production of this album presents a more meticulous less over-produced metal sound, which is quite soothing (in a strange dark way) to my ears.
P.S. an extra special suprise: Liberace Sequence Best of 2008 (click to download)
The track listings are as follows:
1. Lil' Wayne "La La"
2. Gang Gang Dance "House Jam"
3. Chairlift "Planet Health
4. The Dodo's "Fools"
5. Deerhunter "Operation"
6. Violens "Spectator & Pupil
7. Cut Copy "Strangers in The Wind"
8. Lansing-Dreiden "I Dissappear"
9. Hercules & Love Affair "Athene"
10. Air France "June Evenings"
11. The Walkmen "Canadian Girl"
12. Stereolab "Daisy Click Clack"
13. Snowman "Gods of the Upper House"
14. The Magnetic Fields "Zombie Boy"
15. Fying Lotus "Camel"
16. Portishead "Machine Gun"
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The title of this post is a line from a song (go figure). I kid, I kid, it's actually from the Harry Potter novel, where he drops acid and moves to the factory town of Manchester, where he has a bugged out dreams of caped magicians. Both instances are true... true enough! The line is from the song "The House that Faded Out", which I am not including on this post. Humorous isn't it? Well, the song is by a group called Blue Orchids, which features cast-aways from The Fall. Before you start comparing these bands, realize that they are vastly different. These guys, Blue Orchids, are going for a post-punk psychedelic thing. Whereas The Fall is darker and more coarse, a more effective expression of "post" punk. Whatever the case, these bands are different. Finally, as George Micheal said "listen without prejudice". I guess he didn't say it as much as sing it.....Blue Orchids "A Darker Bloom"