Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of 2011 Friday Five!

Happy last Friday of 2011! I wanted to do a year end list, and I also wanted to do a top albums of 2011. I honestly tried to do both of these things, but I feel like all of my lists are biased in some way. However, I decided to come up with a non hierarchical list of my favorite tunes from this year. Enjoy! Have a Happy New Year!

Ringo Deathstarr - Chloe
CSS - City Grrrl
St. Vincent - Cruel

Feist - How Come You Never Go There

Anna Calvi - Suzanne & I
tUnE-yArDs - Bizness
PJ Harvey - On Battleship Hill
Pictureplane - Real Is A Feeling
Wild Flag - Romance

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

St. Vincent - Strange Mercy.

Fall 2011 was quite the time for music. We had releases from Bjork, Feist, Wild Flag, and St. Vincent. Unfortunately, I'm still buying or trying to acquire music from Fall 2011. This week, I was finally able to get a hold of Strange Mercy. I've listened to all of the songs on this album before I bought it (thanks to another wonderful NPR streaming concert), but while I was listening, I suddenly realized that this would be one of the better albums of the year. I did not know it then, but this album is extremely well crafted. Although the album is somewhat sort at 40 minutes, all eleven songs flow very well into one another. The lyrics are all outstanding, and once again, Annie Clark delivers. Strange Mercy is not quite a departure from her past two albums, but Strange Mercy is very consistent, and that is always welcome in the music world.

Track By Track Review.

Chloe In The Afternoon
The first thing that I notice about this song is it's similarity to some other songs that Clark has worked on in the past, but at the same time, this song is entirely new and refreshing to listen to. I only wish that this song was a little bit longer. Although it is a great lead track, this song could easily been extended by another minute or two. Despite that, I like it.

Cruel starts as soon as the last song ended. The opening is somewhat strange transitioning from the last song into this one, but the awkwardness wears off about a quarter way through. Cruel also gives us the first taste of of the signature St. Vincent guitar sound. The solo about halfway though is just enough to keep me listening and just short enough to flow into the next verse. This song is very danceable, and that is interesting. You wouldn't really expect to dance to a St. Vincent song, but I guess the danceability creates some variety.

Again, the opening is strange flowing from the next song, but again, it really does not matter when the song progresses. This song starts off slow, but it creates the prefect mood for this song. The lyrics really stand out on this song in particular because, of the tempo. It isn't necessary a slow song, but it isn't a fast song, this is why I like it so much. It has just enough of a leeway to keep me listening and at the same time, it holds my attention and keeps me from skipping to the next song. 

Surgeon was the first single from Strange Mercy. When I heard it this summer on the local indie radio station, I thought “ I know this voice, but who is it? This can't be St. Vincent. This really isn't her style” After a short web search to confirm my examination, My instincts were in fact correct: it was St. Vincent. This is a pretty good pick for a single, it has the good pace, fascinating lyrics, and a really amazing solo near the end. I really didn't expect it the first time I heard it. And right when it gets good, it ends and slows down for a second or two. An even better transition into the next song. I wish this was done earlier in the album.

Northern Lights
Again, I really don't like the first :25 seconds or so of the opening, but everything else in this song is pretty solid. I really don't know why the opening is so strange to me, the rest of the song is really amazing in fact. The lyrics are very interesting, and the drum repetition gives this song character. Another really good quick solo and then a fade out to the next song. This time it is even better than the first songs with this effect.

Strange Mercy
I also heard this one on the local indie radio station really late at night. I really liked it when I first heard it. Thinking to myself again, I got it right “Now, this is St. Vincent. Fatigue can't trick me this time, this hast to be St. Vincent. The style and everything is just like her past albums”. And that was correct. This is one of the slower songs on this album, but at the same time it has an almost “glossy” character to it. On this song in particular, I can really hear the influences of Clark's label mates (Side note: 4AD is know for their ethereal musical work. Think Bauhaus and the Cocteau Twins) After a short solo/outro this song is over and we are into the next song, just like that.

Neutered Fruit
This is another one of my favorites from this album. It could be because I connect to the lyrics, but it could also be because this song is composed very well. This song is around three minutes, but it still has that glossy quality to it that the previous song has. I also really appreciate the bridge near the middle of the song. It is light, and consistent, but again, it doesn't divert my attention to something else. The electric part that comes in in the second half of the song make this a very captivating listen. I feel like this was a little too short, but I never want the good songs to end anyway.

Champagne Year
I haven't had this album for very long (its only been a day since I bought it) and I already have the lyrics stuck in my head. It isn't very long, but it flows very fell from the previous song. Its very light and airy, and I enjoy it.

Another one of my favorites from this album. I also heard this one on the local indie radio station when I should have been asleep (I listen to a lot of indie radio, we have a pretty good station here in town). I would have switched this song with Cruel, but even without my edit, this song is in a pretty good place on this album. It is just slow enough to listen to, but well crafted.

Hysterical Strength
Hysterical Strength breaks up the metonymy of the previous four or songs, and brings back the danceable qualities of Cruel and combines them with the glossiness of the the previous songs. The ending really picks the speed back up, and provides a good pathway into the final song.

Year Of The Tiger
Clark said that this was about the year of the tiger, or in other words 2010. Basically it was a bad year for a lot of people, and it is loosely based around that notion. You don't have to think about a really upsetting year to enjoy this song though. I think Year of The Tiger combines the best of each song on the album, and creates a really nice ending.

Overall, this is a really great album. It is basically everything that I wanted to hear from Indie Rock raped into one album (well except Wild Flag, that is a story for another day...). Strange Mercy is well crafted and very enjoyable to listen to. I'm still kind of upset that I missed Clark's Boulder concert, but the album is so well crafted, it is fine if I did. If you find this album on a end of the year chart, don't be surprised, it deserves to be there. This is another album that I recommend, go buy it now!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Make Up Monday!

Bonjour tout le monde! Happy Monday! (I can't believe that I just said this). I've been thinking about blogging and posting some reviews and other random things, but I just haven't had the time to. But now that I have the time to post, I will! I've still been crawling the dark cavern of Youtube for the best videos, and now, I present to you the best videos that I've found in my four week absence. Warpaint - Warpaint at Glastonbury Now this is the best footage of Warpaint that I've seen! Look at the clarity! Look at Warpaint! Look at them and all of their amazingness! Warpaint - Elephants at Glastonbury. Emily's voice is a little bit off, but who cares! (Can anyone read Stella's shirt? I think it might be related to one of the Crass Collective bands, but I'm not too sure. I have a shirt similar to that) CSS - City Grrrl. It's somewhat new! Watch this now! (something is telling me to dye my hair pink...) Ringo Deathstarr - Imagine Hearts. Much respect for Ringo Deathstarr. They are filing the Void that My Bloody Valentine left in my heart. That's a good thing! I'm buying their album soon, so keep checking back for a review! (BTW, thanks for the Retweet) Ringo Deathstarr - So High. (Even More)Ringo Deathstarr - Chloe. This song is packed with amazing! Then the wall of sound comes in and its like "BANG!". I never want this song to end. I'll say it again, I have much respect for Ringo Deathsstarr. St. Vincent - Your Lips are Red. I guess this can be considered "old school" St. Vincent. I feel like she is channeling a little bit of her inner PJ Harvey here. (I really want to learn the bridge. Its driving me nuts!) Oh goodness! Look at that audience! How lame is that! Anyway, just focus on the radical guitar work. That is all for now. I'm happy to be back. I don't have any Debate Meets to report to for a while, so I'll be here, music blogging my fingers off. See you soon.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Frighting Friday Five

Happy Halloween Weekend! I thought that I'd post some of my favorite Halloween songs. I hope you enjoy them! Eat lots of candy!

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Fright Night (Nevermore)
Remember when Ariel wouldn't sing this song at Coachella? I do. I was laughing but at the same time I was thinking WTF? I think that was part of his plan.
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Bauhaus - Bella Lugosi is Dead. You can't have a haloween party without this song!
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Siouxsie And The Banshees - Spellbound. I love this video! I could watch it all day!
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Siouxsie and the Banshees - Head Cut
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Gang Gang Dance - House Jam. You know, for Halloween parties...?
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CSS - Alala. Boxes are scarry right?
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Monday, October 24, 2011

CSS and MEN at the Bluebird Theater October 13, 2011

From The Sound Collection

I tend to get excited for concerts. Small concerts, large concerts, basement shows, whatever. This show is not an exception. Four days before this concert I got a killer sinus infection. It wasn't just any sinus infection, it was one of those sinus infections that latch on to you and go away when they want to. I was pretty unhappy with that, so I went on meds to make sure that I would be myself when the concert started. So I decided to take six ounces of cough syrup throughout the day to make my coughing go away. One hour before the show, and I was two coughs away from making my lungs fall out. But I did go to the show, and it now has a spot on my "favorite shows" list.

It just so happened that this show fell on the night of my Mom's birthday. When I was buying tickets, my mom was almost begging me to let her go with me. I didn't want to say no, but at the same time, I remembered that she liked the Sonic Youth concert that we went to a year ago. So I let her go with me. I thought that it would be a good birthday present. Who is lucky enough to see CSS on their birthday? (I got reeealy close to seeing Wild Flag and Sonic Youth on my birthday, but of course, I didn't go)

Nothing really stood out to me when I went in the door. I seen merch, stuff that I wanted to buy with my limited cash that I had left over from saving, and just other various odds and ends that were inside the theater. For a while, I started to look at my hands, and the big black X’s on them (I'm starting to show my age...Hint Hint...). I really wasn’t paying attention to the opening act, but it did make me laugh. I looked at my phone to make sure that my camera settings were correct, and I had to make sure that my awesome followers on twitter knew about the awesomeness that was about to go down at our small venue. I put my pocket and looked up right on time. The opening act was throwing some type of alcohol on the 25 or so people that were there. I didn't get entirely drenched. Even though I wasn't entirely drenched (unlike the people right in front of the stage)  I started to get excited for the music to come.

The gig was pretty much empty. It was still kind of early, but at the same time, I was kind of worried. "What if people didn't know about this concert?". Yes, I do get worried when people skip out on amazing things, and at the same time, I do feel bad when people don't go to amazing concerts with me (I'm looking at you target audience!).But who really cares about that stuff. Less is more when it comes to shows like these. The less people you have, the more awesome the show is. I didn't know it then, but my hypothesis slowly started to take shape.

My coughing slowly started to slow down, but at the same time I started to slow down. Guaifenesin does that to people. So I actively tried my best to stay awake. But instead of trying I decided to go buy a Coke. I didn't want to loose our prime standing position near the front, so I sent a text message to my mom.

"Can you get me a coke? I'll share with you?"
"Ok sure!"
"I just don't want to move and loose our good standing position"

To counter this, I then adopted the widest stance that I could. I don't mind it when people stand next to me at concerts, but I was kind of "loopy" that day. Anyway, my Mom came back with a coke in the typical red plastic cup. Normally, alcohol is served in the typical red plastic cup, but at this venue, alcohol is served in typical clear plastic cups. A group of semi-angry people behind me were not aware of the cup rule.

"Hey see that kid over there?"
"With the cup?"
"Yeah! I think they are drinking Jack and Coke."
"How? They have X's on their hands?"
"Their friend bought it for them."
The ironic thing is that I have extremely good hearing (even when I have ear plugs in. I have those musicians earplugs that somehow "boost" your hearing.) and I heard every word that they said.

"This really isn't an alcoholic drink. Alcoholic drinks are in clear glasses. And plus, who would drink an alcoholic drink from a straw?"

There was a slight pause, and then I heard a response.
"Oh, I guess that is true."
Men Let me just say this now. I've been listening to Men for a while, but I never got around to writing an adequate review for their album. (To be even more honest, I have a whole electronica section in my music library that I haven't told anyone about). So when I seen them on the line up for this show, I got pretty excited.

I was looking at the ice in my drink. Right when I decided to look up An almost blinding yellow light went right into my eyes and into the eyes of everyone in front of me. A couple of anguished screams later, and the lights were dimmed. After gaining my sight back, I realized that the crowd size didn't really grow. I thought "No one wants to see the 2nd opening act? They don't know what they are missing!"

I was impressed. I wasn't expecting a bad set from Men, but at the same time, I wasn't expecting them to run through most of the album I just love when bands do that. They even threw in a new song which I wasn't expecting. It might have to do with this article, but then again it might not (I don't want to give away any new album details!). Anyway, it was a fantastic set, and I forgot about the next band for a while. That is a true mark of epicness. I would have taken pictures of their set, but I focused my energy on pogoing and trying not to spill my drink.

After their set was over, I looked to my right and then I seen a blond yuppie and her equally yuppie boyfriend. They were having quite an interesting chat about the concert:

"So who is is this band again?"
"I'm not too sure. I think they are from Brazil or some place."
"Oh! I'm glad we went! This looks fun!
I couldn't say it then, but I started to get slightly annoyed. In reality, there is nothing wrong with yuppies. Absolutely nothing. However, yuppies get on my nerves when they stand extremely close to me at concerts. I don't think that they understand the concept of personal space. I thought "Well, I can always spill my drink on them, or even better, I could cough on one of them, and then they might leave". I don't always think that way, but I really was about to spill my drink on them.

After mindlessly looking at the crowd for about 5 minutes, the outstandingly yellow strobe light shone its obnoxious rays on my face, so I squinted through the madness to see the amazingness of CSS.


From The Sound Collection
I always say this when I go to concerts, but I really didn't know what to expect from CSS. I've watched various live clips from youtube, I seen their live stream from Coachella, and I've listened to most of their songs. Before I went into this concert, I knew that CSS would be totally amazing, and I couldn't wait for them to get set up. I looked around again, and more people slowly started to trickle in. I was expecting for the place to be packed to the brim, just the Sonic Youth concert that I went to a year ago, but just my luck, the concert wasn't packed. This is a good thing, because it made the concert better for me and everyone else that decided to show up on that Thursday. You don't really get to see 2 bands (for the Ticketmaster price of one) at a small venue, with not a lot of people. So that was a added plus for me.

Literally 30 seconds after my thought, CSS was on the stage greeting us. After the swift entrance, a myriad of lights fell onto the stage and the band rushed into "Off the Hook". This was a surprise for me. I thought that that they would start with something more recent, but they did pick a good song to open. Then I noticed Lovefoxxx's costume which was made up of Batman like pointed tips (oh wait, were those fox ears?), a sparkly punk jacket, and stretch pants. By the next song, those were swiftly changed for jean shorts and a shirt (it went really well with pink hair by the way).

The set list was pretty balanced, and I enjoyed that. I thought that they would only play songs from the new album, but the mixed set list exposed me to the songs from the new album, and songs from the old album. I honestly didn't care about the set list when I was there because I was so focused on dancing (and my drink). But they did play some of my favorites, and that just made the experience even better for me.

I started taking more pictures halfway though the concert. And again, I must give CSS even more props for having a pretty spectacular light show. Everything about this concert screamed "party" to me. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I'm sure that most of the other people did too. I also feel like the yuppies (although shocked at first) had a good time (I seen them move. Trust me). It was really nice to see the crowd getting into it (it took the attention off of me for a while), and plus, the band started to pick up on our energy.

I must give CSS props. They put on the most exciting live show that I've been to and it was just amazing. I talked to both bands after the show and they were all really nice! I would have said more and videotaped the conversation, but I was really under the influence of that cough syrup. So if any band members are reading this, I'm not usually on cough syrup. Thanks for signing my shirt and my ticket!

And thank you for reading all of this! Here is the set list if you want to look at it. I'll post more pictures on my tumblr page. If you want to be up to date on all of my blog postings follow me on twitter.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Being a Female Guitarist.

I don't usually post essay style things on my music blog, but I think that you would like to read this one.

Every Thursday, I look down at my extremely worn in Chuck Taylors with the red laces, or my black slip on vans that are finally starting to look aged and I hear the strum of an acoustic guitar.

At that moment, I know that I arrived at guitar club. Some days, I bring my Gibson SG, while on other days, I like to borrow an acoustic, while at other times I just dont' play at all. Some days, I give basic lessons for free just out of the goodness of my heart (I could easily charge 25 dollars for lesson). It really doesn't' matter what I do, I'm at guitar club, I have fun, and other people are having fun. I've been in the club for three years, and I hardly ever miss a week (although, I remember missing a week or two because I had an extremely important debate meet, and the other time I had the flu and I didn't really feel like playing guitar). People know who I am. I know who people are, but one thing is always apparent, I'm the only talented, non fan-girl guitarist in the whole club.

I'm not trying to brag about this. Some weeks, I'm the only female in the room that is plugged into an amp, waling off solos. I don't care if the guys go in there with their condescending looks and macho attitude; I don't stop playing, I don't get scared, I just stomp on my stomp box and I unleash the pain on them.

On other weeks, I'm not the only female there. I think to myself "Yes! Another Female that plays guitar! I might go talk to her about some guitar related stuff and see if she really likes guitar". But something always happens right before I step over and say something about guitar strings. 95% of the time, the other guitar holding Female goes back to her boyfriend and then hands the guitar over to him. By then, I always say "I knew it". That other 5% of the time, one of my Female friends has a guitar, and they are coming over to me asking for power chord pointers.

I'm not trying to whine about "Why don't more Females play guitar at our Guitar club?" and I'm also not trying to say "Why don't I have a boyfriend?". Hopefully, I'm showing the injustices of being the only good female guitar player in our guitar club.

I guess it is because people don't understand how hard it is coming from my point of view. I've been playing for around 8 years. I started on a really cheep, crappy acoustic guitar. I played until the strings were broken, and until all of the other strings were out of tune. I played that thing as long as I could until all of the strings were broken, and right when the other strings were rusted. I sold that thing to save up more money for an even better guitar. A part of me really wishes that I had that beat up old acoustic back.

Fast forward 4 years. I wanted to get into music again, so a younger version of me saves up some money and I buy an off brand bass guitar. I still have it. It came with a 20 watt amp, and it just sounds great. I loved playing my bass, but I wanted to play 2 more strings. So then, I get my Gibson.

It was an accident, I really wasn't looking for a Gibson SG. I really wanted a Fender Jaguar (I still do) but I found this guitar hanging on the wall. This white SG with 3 pickups instead of the standard 2. I surely thought that it was a fake. But it wasn't a fake. I walked out the store with a steal. From the time I got home, I knew that I'd never give this guitar up for nothing.

I played the heck out of that thing. I still play the heck out of that thing. I played it so much, that I named my guitar White Fang. Why the name? Well, White Fang is a beast of a guitar, and also, Because I'm a lover of books, I think my guitar is kind of "different" in a good way, and the name has stuck like glue ever since.

As you can see, I have a lot of experience with guitars and I love playing. I might not play metal, I might not play speed licks, but doesn't give anyone the right to say that I'm a bad guitarist. I might be a Female, but my gender has nothing to do with how I play. I just wish that those macho guys could understand that. I hope I have my guitar the next time someone says "She's a girl. She can't play", because you know what I'll do to prove them wrong.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Five! Right on time!

Friday Five! Right on time!
Happy Friday! I had the day off today, and I did what I do best; I spent the day crawling though youtube trying to find the best new and intresting videos for my weekly collection of awesomeness! I have some new stuff, I have some old stuff, but just be happy that the Friday Five is back on regular schedule!

Warpaint - Jubilee. I read in this article that this was going to be on the newest album (I guess it was a leftover song?). Anyway, I hope this makes the cut onto the newest one because this song is great!

Beach House - Norway. This is from the Pitchfork Practice sesion. (Yeah, I know...). Why is everything so fuzzy?

Scout Niblett - Dinosaur Egg. This isn't your ordinary song about dinosoar eggs. This is an awesome song about dinosaur eggs! This really sounds great near the end.

Extra! Scout Niblett - So Much Love To Do.

Wild Flag - Romance. I was going to post this last week, but I got lazy and I just didn't do it.

Wild Flag - Romance from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Sleater Kinney - Wilderness (From big day out 2006). I hate to say it, but this footage feels old. Its old, but good, so that is all that really matters. (We get a history lesson too! How cool!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wild Flag - Wild Flag album Review

I've been waiting for this album for a while. No, let me rephrase that. I've been waiting for this album for a very long time, and when I mean very long time, probably since last October. I've outbid people to get the 7 inch LP, I've heard the bootlegs (sorry Wild Flag), and I almost made it to their concert with Sonic Youth and Kurt Vile on my Birthday (August 12th). I've done everything that I could possibly done to hear just a little sliver of Wild Flag, and now I get the chance to.

Listen to this album as you read the review! (thanks NPR!)

Like I said before, I've only heard various tidbits of this album. Some songs here and there, a music video here and there, a bootleg here and there, but besides all of that, I don't think that I've been exposed to the studio recorded epicness that I need to be exposed to. So I have high hopes for this album. Really high hopes for this album. Album of the Year Hopes for this album. I'm pretty sure that I can speak for a lot of people when I say that. I hope it can meet my standards!

(Go listen to it here!) Something told me that they would open with this. It was one of their singles after all. (should have been a red flag) It is a fitting song, it just starts off awesome. You have the dual guitar maze going on with those blaring drums and the flowing wind of the keyboard. They really started this album with a bang! I could just be happy with this one song playing over and over, but instead I have a whole album to play though! This is very good news. If I find it hard to not move on from the first song to the next song, then you know that I would like the album!

Something Came Over Me
This has been my favorite song from the bootleg, so I'm remotely familiar with this song. This is a slower song, but it isn't lacking on the awesomeness. Right off the gate the dual guitars are just what keeps me listing, it really is a simplistic guitar tab, but it is just in the way that they play it on this song! Something just sounds...Better I guess? I'll find more examples thought the song

Wow, Carrie's vocal delivery on this one is reminding me of the Kinks or is it the Pretenders? Whatever it is I'm enjoying it. This song is pretty simple lyric wise, but at the same time it is so complex; this is showed in the breakdown near the end of the song. This might just be me again, but I 'm fining some resemblance to Sonic Youth here too? (am I just crazy?). Anyway, this is a great song to listen to, and it flows greatly into the next song. 

Glass Tambourine
I think that Wild Flag collectively summed up the universe. I've really liked this song ever since I heard it on the 7inch and I"m so glad that Wild Flag went back and revised it a little. (yes I can tell). But it is still the same song but this time around, they just added a little extra something in the solo/breakdown, and they made the ending more epic (4:31 on is re-worked). What else can I say about this song? It is just very good. Halfway through it you feel like you are floating in space looking at a glass tambourine.

Endless Talk
Endless Talk is the halfway point of this album. If you read my reviews often, you will understand that the halfway point is where I judge if an album is just average, or if it is really great. Like most halfway point songs, this one started off a little bit slow (one of my pet peeves) but the pace is a major part of this song. I when I listen to this song, I can hear a mix of The Who, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pretenders and those awesome 60's pop harmonies (no I seriously do). The guitar isn't mind melting on this one, but that is a good thing because we get to hear the harmonies from the keyboard!

Short Version
Nice Opening! I feel like this band never stops on this album! To be honest this sounds even better than I thought that it would sound (dont' rely on the lyrics).  I seen a live version of this not too long ago, and I was amazed by the dual guitar harmonies and the vocal melodies and even at times the keyboard melody is pretty out there. I guess this song is what liquid would sound like, and by that I mean that this song is very fluid. 

Electric Band
 I've heard this song plenty of times on the bootleg. Every time that I listen to it, I just can't get my mind around how awesome the drum opening is. It just holds up the rest of the song, and gives it unique qualities.
I also like the high gain effect that the lead guitar has on this song; it goes great with the drums It takes a little effort to hear it but from what 2:18 until the end of the song, that guitar with the gain is going crazy. On the other hand I felt like this song could have been a little bit longer, but the ending just sounds great,so its fine even if the song is a little short.

Future Crimes
The Drum opening is what really sands out on this song. It is there from the start, and right there when the song ends. But there is more than just drums on this song. Again you have to listen carefully, but you listen to the guitar with the gain, you can find a really good riffs,  and also if you can listen and try to find the keyboard riff that is going right along with you will probably be amazed. You probably didn't hear the difference (trust me I did) but this "album version" of Future Crimes is a little bit different from the 7inch version. I personally think that re-recording it is smart, but that just might be me tyring to be cool again.

This is the best song on the album. But you would only agree with me if you listened to the whole album in order. Firstly, listen to that bridge at 1:09. There is just so much in that small section of that song, and then not too long after that at 1:20, we have another breakdown! Check that out. (Another one at 1:45 I need to quit counting!)  The small instrumental beak starting at 2:40 is nice too. After that the keyboard adds another dimension to this song.4:40 on is just pure joy in my ears and brain. It is 6 minutes of pure amazing.

Black Tiles
I love how they broke up the long song by ending this album with a shorter song. I really haven't seen that on a shorter album. This song is also a highlight on this album because it is shorter, but also because it sets the new standard on how to end an album. It doesn't scream "This is the last song on the album, be sad that it is over" but more "This song is slower, but because this the last song on the album, enjoy it and listen to it again". I really appreciate the ending  of this song (3:45 on). It is just the cherry on top, the one last guitar melting solo on this album; and then it is over. Just like that.

Trust me, I'm not joking when I say this, but this is probably my new favorite album. I honestly can't find any weak points on any of the songs or on any of the instrumentation. This is pretty much anything that I could want in a album. It has elements of punk, indie, noise, experimental and it even has hints from some of the great bands of the past. Looking to the future, I hope that Wild Flag releases more stuff! They can't just leave us hanging (a la Sleater-Kinney). Because if they did...

Anyway, I hope I didn't sound like a rabid Wild Flag fan that was trying to get you to buy this album. It is just great. Go buy it Today as a thank you to Wild Flag. I think that they just saved music.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Five! Finally Back!

Happy Friday! Its kind of strange to be doing the Friday Five again, but I think I took a long enough vacation! I have some awesome stuff planed for you all so keep checking back soon! (*Wild Flag review Cough Cough*)

EMA - Butterfly Knife. This was filmed in Portland.

Pictureplane - Post Physical. I have to rep Denver. I just have to.

The Pretenders - The Adulteress. These next 3 videos are from the Fridays show that used to come on. I'll spare you the bad Andy Kaufman intro ok? (watch the bands reaction)

The Pretenders - Message Of Love. Go away Andy Kaufman!

The Pretenders - Louie, Louie. Looks like Andy finally left. (yes!)

CSS - Lets Make Love and Listen to death From Above. This is a pretty good video. (Does this sound like Tom Tom club to you? Or is that just me again?)

Extra! CSS - Move. Yes! I can't wait for the CSS concert!

Monday, August 15, 2011

TuNe-YaRdS - Bird Brains Album Review

I've been trying to find this album for a while. I've been all over record stores in Colorado trying to find Bird Brains. I think that it was out of stock because of the newest Tune Yards release. I finally go tmy hands on this album as a birthday present. I've been listening to it ever since I got it on Friday. I think it is time for a review. (Avid readers of my blog...Did you realize that this is the first "Albums I got at the libary" album reivew in a while?)

Track-By-Track Review

For You
This one starts off slow, and somewhat relaxing. The vocals come in not too long afterwards. Everything is light in this song. Then we hear some sampling? Is it a conversation? What does this have to do with anything? Anyway it is cool. (or fresh)

We go right into the next song, and this time we hear drums in the mix. When I first heard this, I wondered "So we went from sampling, to drums, to bass, and then to vocals in just about 1 minute? I haven't heard this sequence before." I like this song. There isn't a lot in it, but it is diffrent in a good way, and it really stands out. I'll talk about this later, but this is why the whole album stands out to me; it isn't anything I've heard before, and I've heard a lot.

The music slowed down a little on this song. I feel like this was done on purpose. Usally when a slow song is after a fast song, it brings more attention to the lyrics. I'm not going to do an "lyrical annalysis" on this album and on this song, but I can say that they are pretty deep although they don't "sound deep". I just have that feeling, when I listen to this. "No it can't be about Lions, it just can't be, these lyrics are too deep".

This is is the First Tune-Yards song that I've heard, and I remember exactly what I thought "What the Hell is this? Why am I listening to this? I like this. I don't know why I like it, but I want to listen to more of this." Ever since then, I've been trying to find this album. I don't want to use unusual, but that is what this song is. (well it is in a good way). You have ukelele action going on, vocal loops, and Garbus' one of a kind voice. I know what is going to happen when you listen to this song, you'll think "this sure is different" and then near the end of the song, you realize that is a pretty good song. (Its even better without the band!)

Things get faster on this one, but the tempo of the last song remains the same. If you want to want to see how good Merrill's voice is, I recommend this song. I honestly haven't heard someone hit a high note that high while playing ukelele. (no really!). I also think that these lyrics are signifigant, but again without doing an album annalysis, we have more simple

(did she sample a kid coughing? That is pretty good right there). Jamacican is similar to the last song, but the beat is a little bit stronger, and the vocal delevery are just a little bit stronger, this most strong right around the second half of the song.

Jumping Jack

This is the "halway" point song, or in other words, this is the song that lets me know if an album is worth listening to or not. This time around, I can say that "Jumpin Jack" is a song that I want to listen to; it has a strong opeing, intresting beat, and a captovating melody which I find intresting. This is a very good song all around.

Little Tiger

Going off of my "Halfway point Song rule" this song will be the longest song until we reach the last part of the album. I feel like Little Tiger would be skipped over a lot because it is a slow song (it might be the slowest) on the album. It is worth listening to though because you hear some really good lyircs. And if you don't want to listen to good lyrics (who wouldn't?) you get to hear some pretty intracate ukelae work. I personally haven't heard a ukele sond that has sounded this good. Another great song.

I thought that Merrill was done with the awesome ukele songs, but that was a wrong thought on my part. There really isn't too much on this song, basiclly uke, some occasional precusion, loops and vocals. so its pretty "light".

"FIRE!!!!" Probably the best sample in a song on this album. If you live in the United States, you probably heard the first part of this song in a Black Berry Torch commercial. It was all over the place. One Saturday, I was half asleep trying to watch some TV and then I was awakened by the awesme ukele intro "I've heard this someplace...But where?" Then with some thinking and researching, I found this song. "Something told me that this was Tune-Yards"...I knew it.

Back to the song. I love this song. I highly recomend listening to this song right now just so you can experence the lyrics. I love them so much. Musicly speaking, this song is slower, but not as slow as Saftey, but the lyrics and vocal delivery are better than Saftey (heck it is all on the same album, so everything is equally good to me). Come on, this lyric is great!

what if my own skin makes my skin crawl?
what if my own flesh is suburban sprawl?
what happened between us makes sense if i'm nothing
What happened between up makes sense if I am nothing, you're all if I am nothing at all.

Fiya flows really well into the next song too.

I could talk about how genius these lyrics are, but I don't want to bore you with that (trust me, you don't want me to talk about metaphors and things right?) so I'll just talk about how awesome the arrangement is on this song. I know that I've talked about the slow songs a lot on this review, but this is THE slow song on Bird Brains. It is a work of art. Seriously. Merrill's voice is spot on, the ukelele melody is great and if that isn't good enough, it flows right into the next song well.

Want me To
This is a "hybrid" between Synonyonym and a faster song. Just wait for the first bridge; the ukelele and the bridge go along together like pen and paper (or Merrill and a Boss Loop Station...) then the second slower bridge comes in, and then my mind explodes every time. This is song is great. If you are just getting into Tune-Yards, I woud recomend this song or the next song "real live Flesh as a first listen. Not because they are "easy" to listen to but because they are good.

Real Live Flesh
I heard this song once, and I automatically knew that I had to buy this as soon as possible (that was probably someplace between Hatari and Fiya). I was blown away. Then I forgot all about this song. (yeah, I know...) And then I was at this party not too long ago, and the DJ sampled some of this song. (I was probably at Titwench...I know for a fact that someone sampled this!!!). I enjoy listening to this song so much. Everything is good. The beat, vocals, arrangement. Everything is good! This is how you end an album everyone! You go out with a bang! And then you also create a pretty good video to go along with your song.

Merrill Garbus is a boss. I don't know anyone who can create something this great with a Ukelele, a boss loop station, microphones and some drums (Proof. Yeah, its Real Live Flesh Again). Even crazier, this album was released in 2009! It is still relevant in 2011, where we still try to be "cool" with deluxe loop stations and Ukeleles. I think this is the album that made ukeleles cool in Indie Rock (Trust me I looked and I couldn't find any other album relevant to indie rock that featured ukeleles before 2009.) I can safely say that Bird Brains was ahead of its time. It was so ahead in fact, it took me two years to find it. I hope it doesn't take you nearly as long.