30 June 2007

"I've been doin' my best to stay hater-free."

Perhaps the highest profile leak of the still-young summer is that of one of the most stagnant, and dare I say, predictable bands we mess with. With Interpol, you know what you're getting: one part Joy Division, one part sharp suits, a brooding presence, looming atmospherics and some embarrassing lyrics. It's highly entertaining to witness the frenzy of backlash this band can garner by changing little to nothing from their mostly lauded debut, equal to, if not exceeding the fury that generates when a band "betrays" its roots or past fan-base. But Our Love To Admire still brings it, and I'm starting to find it gets better with each listen.

The nature of a band like Interpol is that people made up their minds by Antics, if not earlier. This is a hate-able band, no doubt. Carlos D is a Pete Wentz for the indie/goth set, and you'll be hard pressed to find someone defending Banks as a lyricist. But if you could take it two times, the third should really be no different. And if you're a Bright Lights-er through and through, Our Love isn't necessarily bringing you back. That said, spin this album a few more times -- push through it -- and I think you'll find something to latch onto, whether it's the ridiculousness behind "No I In Threesome", the "Where Is My Mind" riff of "Rest My Chemistry", or the one step outside the box on the closer "Lighthouse".
I'm loving that The National, everyone's favorite 'grower', released an album that was immediately realized and generally praised, but Interpol, the boys with no surprises, might've put out an album that has yet to reveal itself. Let's talk again at the end of the year.

For now, take some live National (The White Sessions live in France) and an Interpol b-side from way back (maybe my favorite song of theirs), to give these bands the attention they deserve but switch it up from the album cuts everyone has by now.

mp3s
The National Apartment Story (live)
The National Fake Empire (live)

Interpol Specialist
*edit* "Specialist" shouldn't skip anymore.

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27 June 2007

"All the sniffling indie kids.."

Voxtrot @ Webster Hall - 15th June 2007(Credit)
Voxtrot are a textbook case of the music world in which we live; a band whose first and only full length was released less than one month ago but who had already garnered their share of mainstream press, acclaim and a loyal, widespread fan-base largely dependent on their coverage across the blogosphere and through downloadable music. On June 15th, three weeks from the day their eponymous debut hit shelves, the band played their largest New York City show at the palatial, but never cozy Webster Hall. Having graduating from Bushwick, Broolyn rooftops to Magnetic Field to Bowery Ballroom, it's fair to say the band has paid their tiny venue dues and having landed on one of the city's largest stages, lead singer Ramesh Srivastava wasn't shy to admit he was quite nervous about the night's festivities and not only because he had many family member's in the audience. Call it a combination of nerves and newness, but the band's most recent tunes fell almost entirely flat as did the front-man's banter throughout the night, largely focused on his Jerry Seinfeld-meets-Ian Curtis all black attire (with brown shoes, as he noted). Leaving him struggling with the crowd and barely getting by on his appeal and magazine smile, the entire show- crowd and band - was better off when the band shut up and stuck to the songs they know best. Read the rest...

Voxtrot Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, & Wives
Voxtrot Sway (demo version)

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"Now we're movin', now we're taking control."

Tilly and the Wall
Bottoms of Barrels
Team Love [2006] BUY ME

So I've sat with this album for almost a year and a half now, seen the band live twice and I still can't get over their smiles. The good vibes come in boatloads. They know what youth means but they can break hearts with the best of 'em -- there's nothing amateur here; they write like adults. I reviewed the album because it's finally getting an Australian release 1 year later. I should have an interview with them coming soon. I also posted one of my favorites from their pre-
Wild Like Children days called "Shake Shake" along with a new CSS remix of what I like to think of as their Ode to Conor O.

Tilly and the Wall might just kill you with kindness. It'd be easy to say that the band sings and plays with a hop in their collective step if this hop wasn't so unimaginably consistent but this band is just skipping through life, all jump rope, hopscotch, and gumdrops under rainbows on sunny days, the peak of jubilation after the storm has cleared. Don't underestimate, though; beyond pearly-white smiles, innocent doe-eyes and family-friendly indie-folk are burning little embers of mischief and rebellion and even grief -- but mostly, an adolescent exuberance that manifests itself in snarl and four-letter words, like drinking with friends or sexy, small-town physical attraction. Tilly and the Wall secrete a sweaty but sensual bounce, a comprehension of youth and the sounds that should score it.

Oh, yeah -- this is "that tap-dance" band. No drum-kit, just heel-toe clicks and stomps, but I'll be damned if Jamie Pressnall does dance her way into your heart. No gimmicks to be found, because as it turns out, Pixie Stix don't make good drum sticks and the only hyper-happy percussive alternative was a pretty girl with quick feet. Read the rest...

Tilly and the Wall The Freest Man (CSS remix)
Tilly and the Wall Shake Shake

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"On the playground where I spent most of my days.."

Out of West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania comes the optimistically voracious and buoyant duo Taxi and Tables. But this isn't the latest East-meets-West buddy-cop flick, nor that new diner on the corner downtown. In actuality, Taxi and Tables are the song writing partnership responsible for your new favorite classic rock revivalists, Dr. Dog. The distinct single monikers, though, aren't a statement of grandeur like Madonna or Prince, flaunted on neon signs or pyrotechnic backdrops, but instead represent a much larger musical conceptualization – an upbeat dogma that counts at least three other T-alliterated character among its disciples.

"It's a fun clubhouse game to play that separates your identity from what you're doing in the band," says Taxi (or Scott McMicken, by the will of his parents). "Whatever is going on for Scott doesn't necessarily have to apply to Dr. Dog. I don't need my name to be associated with the things that I do." PLEASE READ THE REST...

Buy the disc

Dr. Dog
Ain't It Strange
Dr. Dog Worst Trip

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20 June 2007

"You know we've got your back like chiroprac-tic."

Jens Lekman is sincerity embodied. It'd be too easy to write off everything he does as quirky, ironic or just plain manipulative with his charm, but I can't manage to believe he's anything but real. And hilarious, not to mention endearing. I mean, I first fell in love with the guy's music while he was singing about maple leaves and vegan pancakes.

There was a (two-day) period where he allegedly quit music to work in a bingo-hall, but I guess that was just method-acting style songwriting for his newest single, "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo". The music, with its gentle piano, faint accordian and string reprieve, sounds like something you might hear at the dentist. But when Jens isn't oh, so silent, the vocals rely on his accented Moz-y croon. The pause on the title line is the stuff dreams are made of. And when the song does the speed up, double-time thing around 3 minutes only to slow back down just in time to drive home the chorus, I'm sold. Hit up SRVICE to hear it.

Jens Lekman (link removed)

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"Forget me now."

It's already an Arts & Crafts kind of day and I just realized that this mp3 never worked. So I wanted to try it again. I wrote about Los Campesinos! and specifically "You! Me! Dancing!":

"As if it wasn't cemented already, Arts & Crafts is my absolute favorite label. The EP from their newest signees Los Campesinos!, Sticking Fingers Into Sockets, has what is possibly the most accurate title in recent memory. This is sugary, electricfying, and hyper-active but it's impossible to listen to without smiling. The youth, exuberance and those accents. This is sort of an epic song for what it is but, like [Get Him Eat Him's] "2x2", it goes against the game plan for the recording as a whole, as the 5 other tracks put together are hardly longer than this song. One word: glockenspiel." Buy this EP.

I still can't stop listening. Here's the song (w/ a working link):

Los Campesinos You! Me! Dancing!

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"And I don't care who he is or where he from."

It's official. The Iron & Wine we used to know is long gone, but in the place of hushed sentimentalism are grooves and bongos and the same whisper/croon.

More after-dinner, less bed-time.


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19 June 2007

"I could dress in black and read Camus."

The Deli's New CD of the Month: Battles- Mirrored

Battles' Mirrored is a sharp and aggressive sonic onslaught, like if the cold, hard machine-like feel of the 21st century was synthetically crystallized into sound. The tension between instruments has each pushing inward; the progressive riffage held up by the snapping elasticity of the bass, supported by the punishing drums. Every piece of this apocalyptic puzzle presses with such pressure that with one slip, the entire monument would collapse into experimental rubble. Yet the mathematic exactness of Battles' electricity finds warmth in a perpetual groove that rolls alongside dueling instrumentation. There are no traditional vocals on the album. Tyondai Braxton's larynx - as if hardwired through the city's power-lines - emerges here and there as a chopped and screwed vocoder cackle, like the loops of a mad scientist. When "Atlas" implodes with its counter-beat and affected, robotic whine, it's like War of the Worlds - but scarier. Meanwhile, the cardio workout of the drum-work might just throw us into an irregular heartbeat and leave our muscles sore just from listening. Around ex-Helmet drummer John Stanier, it's as if the rest of Battles reached bare-handed into an electrical box and ripped out fist-fulls of live wire showering sparks and buzzing with electrical current -- these are the machine-like, futuristic space-sounds of Mirrored -- like TV on the Radio for tech-heads and astronauts. - Joe Coscarelli

The Deli Magazine

Buy it


Battles Rainbow

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"These English majors wanna be some super genius novelists."

"Tbtf" sounds like every radio session BSS has ever performed, from NPR to KVRX to Radio Alegre, etc. That is to say, it's soft and serene but as densely arranged as ever. These musicians have become unmistakable in my mind, and their signature sound is all over this track, and hopefully, all over Spirit If...

Kevin Drew Tbtf

Anticipation.

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17 June 2007

"Beat it up like a drum, call me Travis Barker."

Jona Bechtolt is the kid armed with only quick clicking fingers and a laptop. But in a day and age where a world music drum circle erupts in seconds flat as a result of a built-in loop on your average home computer, point-and-click leads to band name, initiates music career, spawns albums. Not to say any bungling dolt is going to accidentally drop OK Computer 2.0, but high-horses be damned, bedrooms have become conducive to albums and you don't have to go by the name Steve Albini. The high-pressure, super speed tour de force, where Anton Newcombe bangs out Give It Back in one week single-handedly, while impressive, approaches commonplace in a world where stardom is kick-started with an unedited, 30-second blog flurry.

Bechtolt's capacity to be the one-man-band-man behind YACHT comes endorsed with references and accolades, including a stint as Khaela Maricich's tech-savvy Garfunkel in The Blow (Bechtolt recently resigned to focus on YACHT full-time). ...READ THE REST.

YACHT Platinum (ft. Bobby Birdman)
Mirah Make It Hot (Over remix)

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"I once smiled at her 'til the shift-boss said get back to work."

Kelly's a renegade. A maverick, even. But is this something Clive cooked up? An image? Or worse, did she just write a really bad album? You tell me.

Kelly Clarkson Judas
Kelly Clarkson Sober

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15 June 2007

"Listen, I've come to rock this boat."

Disclaimer: Traditionally, I, too, am an r&b hater but as Status Ain't Hood has made articulately clear, there's a shake-up going on within the genre and if this is the new face and sound -- consider me a convert.

Rihanna's "Umbrella" is enjoying it's third straight week at number 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart and there is no shame involved with loving this song. Rihanna is 19 years old, but if this isn't the pinnacle of her recording career, then pop music has received some sort of godsend. One song this good per year and my appetite isn't only whetted, I'm stuffed.

The "rainy day" conceit isn't fresh, but the attention to detail has the entire song feeling like an impending thunder storm. The live kit drums strike and roll while the growl of distortion rests just under the song's surface, like a torrential down-pour in the distance. Travis Barker brought out the rock side in a recent remix with towering guitars sopping with fuzz but it doesn't need to be brash; "Umbrella" is subtly dark and foreboding. And even though 'Hov phones in his embarrassing verse, Rihanna takes him on her back and carries the track with a presence that's almost scary when you realize all the punches this girl's packing. "SOS" was one thing, but this is another league, in my mind. Tom Breihan likes the record, Good Girl Gone Bad, which I've yet to hear in it's entirety but he harps on her robotic, thin voice and doesn't love this particular song. I have to respectfully disagree; the song's banging and she executes the vocals flawlessly for what it is. Robotic is T-Pain, Akon and the rest of Rihanna's male counterparts.

The knockout blow, though, isn't massive or bombastic, but it is flooring -- and it's found in the form of repeated hooks and jabs. The entire pop appeal of the song (and the thing that makes it a windows-down, turn-it-up smash) is encapsulated by the title line's pronunciation. "You can stand under my umbrella," is dropped so perfectly it hurts. By the time she gets to the "-ella, -ella, eh, eh, eh" the hook becomes fatal.

stream
Rihanna Umbrella (Travis Barker Remix)

mp3
Rihanna ft. Jay Z Umbrella
Rihanna ft. Lil' Mama Umbrella (remix)

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"You're not hopeless or helpless, and I hate to sound cold.."

It's always good to hear from Karen O and her boys. So far, they've yet to disappoint me whether with their grimy, jagged side (Yeah Yeah Yeahs EP and Fever to Tell) or when they decided to step out of their comfort zone a bit on Show Your Bones. It was a largely overlooked record and frankly, I think it has been unfairly passed up. But who am I kidding, cred is not something they lack in any regard and people made up their minds long ago, largely with a positive result.

Myself, I'm always up for some spastic grrrl power (and I do prefer O at her most howling and out of control, though her coy whispers are becoming, as well). Brian Chase always provides solid percussion, and has a nonchalance that balances well with Karen and the moody snarl of Nick Zinner's skinny goth boy posturing (which works for him).

Sound of the City covered the YYYs recent video shoot in Brooklyn that found them in an intimate situation with a room full of females to shoot a video for "Down Boy" from the band's upcoming EP, Is Is. Yeah, I'm jealous. Read about it and you will be, too. The EP is great, packed with the swagger and bite that we've come to know and love. It's certainly not a change of pace, but when that pace is breakneck and still kicks our ass everytime, I can't imagine complaining."Down Boy" is something I imagine Karen O has to tell men frequently. The song starts as a spacey number, building atmosphere with effects and a clicking drum beat, but sure it enough it erupts and even finds a pretty compelling groove in the chorus before resorting back to the dark and brooding verse. With the right video, this spark could catch. "Kiss Kiss" has been a staple of the live show and is tightly packed with a nice little explosion. But Karen's chilling whisper at the end makes it.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Down Boy
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Kiss Kiss

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14 June 2007

"I got my swag."

I realize that if you are into the interweb at all, you've come across your fair share of Justice write-ups and mp3s in the past couple weeks and even months. The story has been told: two French guys hook up with Busy P and the whole Ed Banger scene, work some remixes and finally put out their debut, †, which proceeds to rattle some dance music purists who don't roll with the new school of filter-based explosions that have maybe something in common with stadium rock. The record basically doesn't sound too far off from Jock Jams vol. 1 if Jock Jams had more Ecstasy and finesse, fusing hard rock and disco instead of testosterone and bad samples. But the ends are comparable -- this can bowl over stadiums and I can't hear the record without imagining clips of crowds exploded into cheers because that deafening roar, passed through a distorted filter is what Justice sounds like. Jess Harvill reviewed the album here and I thought it was spot on. Her album reviews are consistently becoming my favorite to read.

So despite the hype-wave, I feel a duty to post these songs for two reasons. Both of these tracks made the album and are even singles, but I came across them on the Ed Banger Records compilations vol. 1 & 2, respectively. And frankly, they just crush 'D.A.N.C.E.' into oblivion, even if that is the hooky cross-over that won't leave your head (which it is). The second reason is that while listening to my iPod on shuffle today, 'Waters of Nazareth' came on and smashed my head. It was so crushingly loud that I didn't know what had hit me and my brain started buzzing. I looked around, glass-eyed and people were starring at me because of the vibrations coming from my headphones. Turn it up, I dare you:

Justice Waters of Nazareth
Justice Phantom

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"Eating up the scum is the hardest thing for me to do."

There For Tomorrow Pages EP
Review at Orlando Weekly

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"Forwards or backwards..."

P4k has new múm, which is amazing news. Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today Is OK is an all-time favorite.

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"Chevy grill lookin' like a set of new braces."

Over at Wireless Bollinger they're doing a great '10 Bands to Watch' thing that isn't your typical Peter, Bjorn & Dan Deacon deal since it is based in Australia. Check it out and you might just find something you like. My contribution is on pop-rockers Belles Will Ring who have a bit of a Shins + Dandy Warhols thing going. The piece goes something like this:

"I’d say once the indie-disco 80’s hair cut phase this country is being plagued with disappears, something glorious will rise from the ashes," promises Belles' drummer Ivan Lisyak; a truly refreshing thought indeed. Read the whole thing if you're interested.


As the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has come and gone, the Beatles legacy remains nothing if not over-determined. As the praise may never grow stale for the group's musical pinnacle, the most notable aspect of the masterwork remains its innovation, eternally calling into question the merits of any act in the behemoth's towering shadow. However, like a shining beacon – a North Star of rock 'n' roll – the band's sound and collaborative genius remain benchmarks present in group dynamics and more patently, in the form of direct musical models. But in the modern, while blatant imitation is certainly a contemptible offense, there is something to be said for a healthy synthesis of precursory influence, never more respectful than on Dr. Dog's We All Belong. ...Read the rest.

And as promised, my review of the Calvin Johnson show.


Loop it.
I can't stop listening to...

Get Him Eat Him 2 x 2
The impact of this song is undeniable. It's such a rush out of the gate and is an instantly grabbing, brilliant way to begin the album, Arms Down, even if there is a stark contrast between the immediacy of this track and the more reverent remainder of the record. The vocal effects are subtle but vital
and I've been on a bit of a vocoder kick but the production is flawless. There's something about a perfect burst in barely two-minutes that lends itself to at least 6 or 7 plays in a row.

Los Campesinos You! Me! Dancing!

As if it wasn't cemented already, Arts & Crafts is my absolute favorite label. The EP from their newest signees Los Campesinos!, Sticking Fingers Into Sockets, has what is possibly the most accurate title in recent memory. This is sugary, electricfying, and hyper-active but it's impossible to listen to without smiling. The youth, exuberance and those accents. This is sort of an epic song for what it is but, like 2x2, it goes against the game plan for the recording as a whole, as the 5 other tracks put together are hardly longer than this song. One word: glockenspiel.

Feist One, Two, Three, Four
I was pretty disappointed to miss Feist at Town Hall the past two nights but seeing her on Conan and knowing that she'll be at McCarren Pool on August 29th (w/ Kevin Drew!!) makes up for it.

*edit*: Conan video was taken down by NBC already, but here's the music video

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12 June 2007

"Lucky just to keep afloat."

Massive day. You've got your trippy candidates for musicians of the year (between Person Pitch, Pullhair Rubeye, and so far, Strawberry Jam). You've got your rhythmic innovators -- so consistent of late that it's becoming frightening. And lastly, you've got your AM-slow-golden-hits, courtesy of my second favorite Canadian collective.

Animal Collective Peacebone
Liars Houseclouds
The New Pornographers Adventures in Solitude

Get 'em while they're hot.

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11 June 2007

The Monday Morning Quarterback

Busy week last week?


All the rage.

  • Filter has word on Kevin Drew's solo album: Broken Social Scene presents Spirit If...
Icky Leak.
Same fate.
Doomed.
No one's safe.

"...the resurgent Yankees (30-31) ... winning for the ninth time in 11 games ... their longest winning streak since they won six straight last September."
  • Kells is a hot (and fascinating) topic. And Nelly Furtado had a big show that resulted in some really good writing.
Stream: Ryan Adams ft. Sheryl Crow Two

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10 June 2007

Muzak? Harpsichord Sounds? Synth Flute? Adult Contemporary?

+

= Kanye West ft. John Mayer Bittersweet

An ode to the strain that domestic violence puts on an otherwise sweet relationship:
"Motherfucker, your mama's a bitch/ You know, domestic drama and shit/ All that attitude/ I'd never hit a girl but I'll shake the shit outta you"

seriously.

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"It's raining (raining)."

Birdman, Jr.

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09 June 2007

"I'm about to double up."

Billboard has an article on Iron & Wine's new record, The Shepherd's Dog. A strong year of releases for sure, but this is one I had forgotten about. Sam Beam is so consistent that he often gets overlooked, but Woman King and the Calexico collaboration In the Reins were both great leaps forward, each beautiful and lush. I see his progression as very similar to that of the Mountain Goats, from lo-fi minimalist story-tellers to equally effective songwriters employing more pristine production and additional instrumentation.This is a cut from the soundtrack to the Scarlett Johansson movie In Good Company (a pinnacle of modern cinema). It's one of the most epic ballads I've ever heard but I feel like it has never gotten the praise it deserves. The version from the soundtrack has soaring harmonies but it also features an awkward acoustic bassline which has a melodic bounce to it that just counters everything that's soothing and heartbreaking about the song. This is a live recording from NPR's All Songs Considered that's bare and transfixing.

mp3
Iron & Wine The Trapeze Swinger

The Shepherd's Dog is out September 25th on Sub Pop.

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04 June 2007

"Eternal nothingness is fine if you happen to be dressed for it."

Christian Lorentzen recently wrote a piece for Time Out New York titled Why the hipster must die. The subtitle reads "A modest proposal to save New York cool" and I find the entire topic especially intriguing for a few reasons.
1) the "New York cool" is something I've always known about in myth - a romanticized notion I held as a kid - so being around it for a short while now, I'm starting to understand the dynamic.
2) hipster-dom has a pretty incestuous relationship with music scenes, especially here and especially 'indie-rock' (something pretty much ignored in the article, which makes me think I'm missing the point, but more on that later)
3) the people writing on hipsters always seem to be hipsters themselves, albeit of self-loathing/closeted nature
and most importantly,
4) I want to know what's next.

After name-dropping Vincent Gallo, Bright Eyes/the demise of LES, American Apparel, etc., the writer proceeds to make the argument that what NYC needs is a civil war between the Sweet (ironic) and Vicious (rebel w/o cause). But it's this whole 'underground becomes the overground' thing (Nirvana '91) that happens over and over again, and each time people pretend they're surprised/appalled but the fact that it gets a whole issue of TONY is a symptom in itself. But I don't want to argue the merits of the underground or anything like that for the simple reason that I don't get it.

When I said that I was surprised how blatantly overlooked the role of music was to the death of the hipster it's my attempt to reckon with what I don't understand. Never having been hip myself, the one thing I have any idea about it music. Not bars, or fashion, or real estate. So I try and bring it back to what I do know, only to realize hot shows (like PB&J a few months back) or parties like Motherfucker, etc. don't matter in terms of who's playing (ie, the reason I'd want to be a part of it) but just that they're playing at all. As if a laundry list of who you've shared a PBR with at the afterparty is just as (more) important than the merits of their last record. This just makes me think of Chris Ott recently commenting (and Marc Hogan responding) that people should "STOP TREATING MUSIC LIKE IT’S YOUR STICKER COLLECTION." But no one's read this far, and I want to talk about that another time.

Safe to say, I just don't get it and it's easy to blame that on youth. If you're me and not close with an editor or a phenom in and of yourself, then you're not yet to this stage in life- the middle ground between college and real life, where you do need a place (in the neighborhood of the moment) and to pay your rent, but you can go out every night because you don't have real responsibilities (god forbid).

So in the end it just leaves me wondering where my half (the latter half) of our generation will be when these people finally give up, stop bitching about gentrification and get real jobs which is unfortunately bound to happen. As much as Lorentzen wants to see it happen, I don't think we're the 'dangerous' ones that can bring merit back to 'cool'. If anything, I'm afraid we're all becoming so scared of the future that was the prospects get younger and younger (from the indie-yuppies as the oldest, back to the current crop of hipsters, down to me and further down the age ladder) we're all just getting safer and safer. Where a revival is in order, we drop the ball. Ashton killed trucker hats. London, stripes and us, cool.

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03 June 2007

Vampire Weekend Live @ Bowery Ballroom 6.02.07

Blog posts on this band are beginning to accumulate and I have a feeling that they're only going to increase as the summer progresses. Playing Bowery is "movin' on up" in this city and the buzz continues to build...So I went to last night's show in order to check out White Rabbits, but it was the set before theirs that's truly worth noting. I saw Vampire Weekend a few months ago when they played a party for The Deli along with Apollo Sunshine. I was working the door, but I went in to check them out and I was thoroughly impressed. After the show they gave me their demo (Blue CD-R). The songs are catchy beyond belief and I was so impressed that I told some friends how they were the next big thing (despite the name; peep the Arctic Monkeys). In February I wrote that "with elements of Paul Simon's Graceland and vibes like an indie-rock version of Jimmy Buffet, the band brings a tangible comprehension of influence and will appeal to fans of Nick Diamonds' (er, Thorburn) projects, whether with Islands or the Unicorns." Turns out everyone with ears picked up on the Graceland homage and it turns out the boys (all Columbia grads) have a penchant for world music, specifically African guitar, but mostly I just hear Islands if they tried to make more "island"-sounding songs instead of expanding their band to 6 people and writing 9-minute epics.

After write-ups in Under the Radar, Rolling Stone and a few blogs with great foresight (Good Weather..., Stereogum, etc.) the group played Bowery for the first time last night. The show solidified everything you think about this band on first listen:
1) "This is ridiculously catchy. My little sister is going to love this but so is the guy at Other Music."
2) "Why in the fuck aren't these kids signed and being bled dry by a label that wants them to be the next Fall Out Boy. If 3rd wave emo can go plat, why can't world music?"
3) "I bet everyone will pogo up and down like idiots during 'Walcott' like it's 'Sk8er Boi'."The other thing last night's show reminded me of is how fickle people really are in this age where a new band 'breaks' onto the scene (read: Internet) every 20 minutes. The backlash on Vampire Weekend is going to be monumental. First, they play up the preppy, upper Manhattan vibe too much. It's in every interview/write-up and lead singer Ezra Koenig hams it up on-stage with his slim brown belt and white Dockers shorts to just above the knee. They're quirky and cutesy from their playful riffs to lyrics about Lil' Jon and reggaeton to Koenig's hiccuped high-notes. He somehow even managed to drop Duke University into between song banter. A bunch of Ivy Leaguers fetishizing African pop just isn't going to fly very long with the Brooklyn set, and I'm just surprised things are tranquil right now. Brace for impact, guys.

BUT, to be fair (and honest) there was absolutely zero of this at Bowery last night. Everyone was eating out of their hands with plenty of sing-a-longs, the biggest crowd of the night (dwarfing the headliners) and I overheard quite a few admittances of "Damn, these guys are pretty good," throughout the set. Their fans(& friends) are loyal, collected across the front rows for hand-claps, inside jokes and birthday cheers for a mutual friend. Each song shined (especially "Walcott" and "Oxford Comma") and if it wasn't a done deal before last night, these guys just hit the jackpot and should be announcing a very lucky label any day now.

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02 June 2007

Interweb Gossip

My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Spencer Krug pass out at 31 Flavors last night right after he stormed out of band practice. Wolf Parade breaks up? Stay tuned. God knows, P4K'll have the scoop if it's legit.Viva Random Spirit Lover!

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Golden Ghost / Woods / Julie Doiron / Calvin Johnson @ Don Pedro's 6.01.07

Don Pedro's is an Ecuadorian restaurant which Todd P transforms into an all ages DIY show in a good sized performance space (albeit with no air conditioning). Despite the stuffiness of the room, the show was extremely pleasant with everyone in a great mood, just happy to be there.

Golden Ghost
A lo-fi project of Laura Goetz playing their first show as the band Golden Ghost. I was thoroughly impressed by their set of catchy little pop songs complete with tape loops, sound effects, group vocals and bare-bones guitar. Sounds like CocoRosie (Noah's Ark) or Jana Hunter with a little of the child-like voice of Joanna Newsom. They even covered Mariah Carey, Final Fantasy style.

Golden Ghost- I Go Out Anyway

Woods
Woods was a great duo, similarly lo-fi with their own set of tape loops. They were backed by a drummer who sometimes played bass, but it was their echoing harmonies and sneaky hooks that were both soothing and intriguing. Give them a listen, "Be Still" comes highly, highly recommended.

Julie Doiron
Julie is Canadian singer-songwriter who blew me away with charm. She has a voice which always sounds on the verge of going hoarse that occasionally sounded like Feist or smoky like Chan Marshall but with a bit less vocal polish. I just can't believe I didn't know of her before. Highlight: a cover of Pavement's "Shady Lane".

Julie Doiron- No More


Calvin Johnson
K Records head-honcho Calvin Johnson closed out the night with a strangely engaging set of crazy dances, offbeat monologues and some musical highlights from his extensive catalog. It was my first live experience with him and I'll have a much more extensive review of his portion of the show for Wireless Bollinger coming soon. Mostly, I just wanted to highlight the engaging, completely impressive cast of bands who opened the show.

*edit* - HERE's a full review of the show.

If you want a concert experience that doesn't feel like NYC, please go see a Don Pedro's show. And check out these bands.. they're worth a right-click.

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Do's and Don'ts & Friends (Fatal Fame Vers.) vol. 1

DON'T

=


or

uh oh.
Big Things Poppin'?; no.

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