Saturday, January 31, 2009

I AM ASHAMED TO SAY I HAVE LOST ALL HOPE IN EVERYTHING



i feel like this is so fake it threatens the idea of real music. also reading the youtube comments is hilarious.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I MIGHT HAVE TO GO TO COACHELLA

check the lineup!
RIGHT HERE!
it's looking pretty good; not quite as good as last year (at least for me, whose favorite bands played one right after the other on the same stage). sunday looks like please have my children immediately.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

THE BEARS ARE COMING


a long time ago, pretty much every band i liked was from ACROSS DA POND or sounded like they were. nowadays it seems like the only english bands i like are the sexy, dancy ones, with synth-laden music, who dance ridiculously when they perform live. (see: FRIENDLY FIRES). while the english (by which i mean NME) seem to be excited about the US music scene, it has been hard for me lately to get excited about the english music scene.



THEN MAGIC HAPPENED:
i decided to listen to LATE OF THE PIER, the four most frequently, incongruously shirtless guys in britain, the other night, and i started feeling better about this whole thing, because i really like them. they are easy to classify with MGMT because of the weird trippy aesthetic, but i feel like they're more creative than MGMT. all of their songs sound like they were created out of 2839043 ideas the band had then decided to combine into one song.

THE BEARS ARE COMING.
let me tell you how i feel about this song: the first 42 seconds are probably the best first 42 seconds i have heard in a long, long time. however, like i said above, this song is about eight million different songs so after those 42 seconds it dissolves into okay.
HEARTBEAT.
TRY not to love that synth line. TRY NOT TO LOVE IT. apparently i have played this 30 times in 2 days.


they are coming to the US in the spring to do some shows. after having youtubed the shit out of them, i have concluded that it would probably be in everyone in the world's best interests to go. they are utterly ridiculous and awesome.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

IT'S SUCH A DRAG TO BE ON YOUR OWN


many thanks to the blog i stole this from.

today i discovered a huge gem: the walkmen take my favorite jimmy cliff song / one of many childhood jams and transform its reggae-tinged afternoon-sunlight bliss into a tortured, nostalgic anthem. i don't know how this makes so much sense to me.

MANY RIVERS TO CROSS --- THE WALKMEN.

BONUS:
WE'VE BEEN HAD --- THE WALKMEN. oh hey, piano! hey, do you remember i taught myself this whole thing in the auditorium in high school. it echoed all the way up to the ceiling. i get tired with this whole mess now. i could go back to that and learn a thousand songs and echo them up to the ceiling and forget whatever.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

MELLOW OUT

here is a band called PRINCETON. apparently, not like the college.



their music does appear to be academic in subject, but what is the point of categorizing academic music as we have categorized "college" music (remember my theorizing on this)? they remind me quite a bit of belle and sebastian in terms of their sound, but belle and sebastian seemed to me to always focus on the sexual aspect of acadamia ("you are looking at the working week in the eyes of a gigolo-oh-oh!") and princeton have composed an EP about the members of some kind of british intellectual collective.
this song's called LEONARD WOOLF (like the noted british political theorist. duh). do i hear some HIGH WOODWIND ie. CLARINET / FLUTE / OBOE STYLING in there (this is where the B+S comes in! hear it?)

this is not about the collective consciousness of some smart english people, but it is still very good:
THE WAVES

quite cute and very positive, enjoy

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

JAMZ OF LATE PART IV


courtesy livejournal's film_stills community + wes anderson

1) BADONKADONKEY --- BORN RUFFIANS. here is a song about falling out of love, woven around one bass note, some simple drums, the ridiculous inflections of luke lalonde's voice, and a jerky, stuttering guitar riff. one of the best songs on one of the best albums released last year.

2) BETTER THINGS --- PASSION PIT. stating the truth in the first thirty seconds: "YOU'RE GONNA DRIVE ME CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZYYYYY." all full of synth warble and this sexy yelping voice: catchy little song. i'd like to hear more from this band.

3) KIDS ARE YOUR FRIENDS --- MGMT / JUSTICE / PITBULL. break this out at a dance party or when your boy (or girl) is over. sometimes you need to be told "shake that thing shake shake that thing" over that killer synth riff from kids.

4) IN THE NEW YEAR --- THE WALKMEN. this is one of the best tracks on one of my favorite albums of 2008, and i gave it to you on new years' day but if you didn't get the hint here it is again. the point is, this is a mindblowing song with a mindblowing level of power, and all of that is proven within the first minute with hamilton leithauser's faux-drunken scream: "I KNOW THAT IT'S TRUE! IT'S GONNA BE A GOOD YEAR! OUT OF THE DARKNESS AND INTO THE FIRE!!"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

IT ALL COMES AT ONCE


this pretty picture comes up when you google 'white sky.'
when i talk about white sky though i'm not talking about that interesting national phenomenon that happens a lot out west, i'm talking about THAT VAMPIRE WEEKEND SONG THAT MAKES ME CRY.

since we've already delved into my personal feelings on this, i'm not going to say much, but i will say that i'll always remember when i first heard this song, because i have never ever in all of my life been hit so hard by a song, and i have been hit pretty hard by a great number of songs.

here is a really nice version... they also did that cover of ca plane pour moi again, and mansard roof because it's a classic. you can select whichever video you want, although let me WHOLEHEARTEDLY RECOMMEND white sky to you as it is mind-blowing, life-affirming, and totally fucking awesome.
WHITE SKY --- VAMPIRE WEEKEND

KNOTTY PINE

i was just listening to the only dirty projectors song i like, which is called BECAUSE YOUR LIGHT IS TURNING GREEN, when i stumbled across this huge slice of awesome.

KNOTTY PINE --- DIRTY PROJECTORS

for charity compilation 'dark was the night' whose tracklist looks DEVASTATINGLY PROMISING: yeasayer, spoon, arcade fire, grizzly bear, sufjan, etc etc etc. they're releasing one song a day until the entire album is released on february 17th, check up on THE MYSPACE as often as you can!

to make matters even better, david byrne wrote the lyrics for this tune and i suppose dave longstreth put the rest of it together. great vocals, cute BUT NOT TOO CUTE guitar / piano riff --- i feel like you can dance to this, i feel like it's feasible. WELL PLAYED.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WHEN WE GET OLDER

today i wanted to talk a little more about some songs that are very important to me. what i have in mind are the nine songs on the album STOP MAKING SENSE which the talking heads released in 1984 along with the concert video that bears the same name.



the other day i was talking with some friends and was shocked to realize that they had not watched the film and that they did not know what i was talking about when i began to explain the hilarious dance moves david byrne breaks out in ONCE IN A LIFETIME. if you have time you can probably youtube everything on stop making sense. this is a very important thing to do if you appreciate any music that is perceived as incorporating african rhythms, includes awesome synth, multiple key changes, and bass grooves, and/or possesses somewhat existential, meaningful, and "OH SHIT" lyrics ie. "when we get older, we stop making sense." it is a very important thing to do PERIOD but if you identify with anything i just listed you need to get on this IMMEDIATELY if you haven't already.

let's just talk about one song super briefly: this one's always been a favorite...
BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE.
so, the lyrics of this song are a series of couplets that, in the couplets, make SOME sense, and, when you look at the song as a whole, mean absolutely nothing.
ie.
"all wet
and you might need a raincoat
shakedown
thieves walking in broad daylight
three hundred sixty five degrees
burning down the house!"
i feel like this song is very important in terms of its positivity and overall level of awesome. there are not ONE but TWO insane synth solos, a very shoutable chorus, some sexy tribal drumming, etc etc etc etc. i think this is probably everything you would possibly want in a song.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

THAT'S NOT AN EARTHQUAKE; IT'S THE VIBES


THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT RADIO STATION!!

i'd like to share two songs i feel very strongly about.

the first was introduced to me last night by my friend melissa on the way home from something i'd rather not tell you about. this song is the reason why melissa spent, i think, about $20 on a simon and garfunkel record. i was confused as i hadn't heard it, then she played this for me on her iphone.

KEEP THE CUSTOMER SATISFIED --- SIMON AND GARFUNKEL.
i really am a sucker for a big brass section. sigh. this is a really ecstatic song although it is about the shittiness that is DA REAL WORLD. i think that's the most powerful thing. "everywhere i go i get slandered, libeled, i hear words i never heard in the bible..." but then the music is so (for lack of a better word) happy. i think that contrast is really powerful.


the other song i feel really strongly about is a song that a lot of people probably feel really strongly about.
SINGLE LADIES (PUT A RING ON IT) --- BEYONCE.
I LOVE SINGLE LADIES. i was at first confused as to why rolling stone named this as the best song of this year. THEN I LISTENED TO IT. while i don't really understand the minor section, the rest of it including that MASSIVE HOOK ("if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it! if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it!") is totally, incredibly, devastatingly, ridiculously awesome. i haven't felt this strongly about a "pop" song since DISTURBIA (everyone knows my feelings about disturbia).

i posted both these songs together because while they have LITTLE TO NOTHING in common, we can find here what some call "the vibe connection" ie. they both have that overarching aura of positivity DESPITE a little bit of sadness in them: for paul and art the terrible reality of the world, for beyonce the fact that he didn't, in the end, put a ring on it... however, despite these setbacks, these people find that there are, because there is no better phrase, POSITIVE VIBES IN THE WORLD, and we can appreciate them whatever happens.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I LIKE THIS

RICH --- SAM BUCK ROSEN
what time signature is this in? it sounds like i don't know. i can't follow the beat of it really but i don't care. wait --- wait i just got it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

HOLY BALLS

it's january 5 2009 and pitchfork has given merriweather post pavilion a 9.6, which even i did not foresee (i was thinking 9.1-2 territory), meaning it will be in the top 3 of THIS YEAR (2009's) best-of list.
regarding animal collective...


i like animal collective, and i think i am highly evolved to a point where i consider what they do "good music" in that it is oft-pleasing collections of interesting sounds. i really like FEELS, which is a great albeit short album to which pitchfork awarded a 9.0 in 2005.
the intriguing thing about pitchfork is that, as the airborne toxic event's mikel jollet said in an open letter after his band's album was rewarded with a 1.9 (i think), they don't necessarily judge the music all the time, but rather the band's ability to fit into that INDIE AESTHETIC. what i think of is how THA FORK gave ra ra riot's RHUMB LINE, spoon's GIMME FICTION, and FRIENDLY FIRES' debut self-titled all 7.9s despite, in the reviews, saying nothing negative about the bands or albums at all.
animal collective fit perfectly into this aesthetic, which i am pretty sure was designed for them to fit, and pitchfork ranks that accordingly. i like the music that animal collective make, but i don't think it is deserving of a 9.6, and i kind of resent that they are ranked so high just for fitting a set of tenants i am pretty sure include "ridiculously inaccessible," "vaguely sexual lyrics," and "atonal synth."
i could write a novel about WHY HIPSTERS LIKE ANIMAL COLLECTIVE but i won't. it has to do with the IMAGE and the YEARNING FOR THE AESTHETIC.

HIPSTER RUNOFF seems to corroborate my opinion about animal collective / the hipster mob mentality that makes them popular / pitchfork giving them repeated blowjobs in the form of ridiculous scores / people liking their music solely because it is so inaccessible that they will be considered cool for their ability to listen to it without becoming confused.

that said, HOT DAMN DO I CONTINUE TO LOVE BROTHER SPORT, SO FUCK YOU WEB SHERIFF, IF YOU ARE STILL ON THIS LIKE WHITE ON RICE AFTER MPP LEAKED ON CHRISTMAS:
(perhaps i am biased against this album because it has the same initials as my workplace. animal collective, you had better deliver more than my boss who always messes up my payroll)
edit: fine. fine. whatever. (see comments :( )

Friday, January 2, 2009

HIPSTER VS. SCENESTER

i was thinking today at work about "cred" ie. "scene cred" and how much of it i have, when i realized i don't even really know what that phrase means. i think by most peoples' accounts i would be called a "hipster," but since i have admitted in the past that i probably am a hipster, does this make me not a hipster? is being a hipster a bad thing? is being a scenester a good thing? and perhaps the best question of all:
WHAT THE FUCK IS THE DIFFERENCE???!??!

since this is a MUSIC BLOG i'm going to ignore wardrobe / lifestyle choices for the most part in this analysis.

we can look at it this way, possibly the most popular "definition":
a hipster is someone who appreciates bands one can consider reasonably popular: ie. they might get some airplay on MTV (subterranean / mtvu counts), pitchfork gives them frequent scores above 8.0 / "news" mentions.
a scenester is someone who appreciates bands that you can't consider popular at all, and if the names of these bands were mentioned people would probably think you were talking about an obscure book or disease.

but then you have to answer these questions:
example I: someone who saw architecture in helsinki live / appreciated their music circa "FINGERS CROSSED" (their first album). would you consider this person a scenester, because they saw aih before they became 'popular,' or would you consider them a hipster, because architecture in helsinki did become popular eventually therefore this individual's being "on top of it" doesn't count?
example II: a person really likes a lot of obscure bands and attends their shows / buys their albums, but their favorite band is radiohead, whom they have seen 17 times. is this person a hipster, because their favorite band is radiohead and come on, everyone likes radiohead, or a scenester, because they like a whole lot of other bands too and it doesn't matter if they like radiohead because they're fucking awesome despite their popularity?
example III: i really like vampire weekend and i've seen them four times, one of which was the night their album was released. am i a total nerd, because i've seen them four times, a hipster, because COME ON IT'S VAMPIRE WEEKEND THEY ARE OVEREXPOSED, or a scenester, because i saw them BEFORE IT WAS COOL?

then we have to ask:
why are hipsters ashamed of being hipsters?
the way i look at it, hipsters want to be scenesters as they are just scenesters who came late to the party --- nothing too wrong with that! however, times are such that when you call someone a hipster, you throw on the hipster oddity that my dad calls "the brooklynvegan thing" wherein people vehemently hate a band because other people like them. you throw on the wearing the keffiyeh, the chillin' on saint marks' / in williamsburg, the pabst blue ribbon, the record player, the american apparel: the fact, in general, that this is the first thing that comes up when you google image search hipster:


a piece of wisdom:

"hipster" is a derogatory term because people associate being a hipster with being an asshole, hating things because people like them, being ashamed to admit you like bands that aren't animal collective and deerhunter, dressing exactly the same as everyone else whilst rolling a smuggled-in joint in a meaningful page you ripped from catcher in the rye at mccarren park pool (this is mostly a true story), and, when i bring up liking vampire weekend, say "yeah, everybody hates them now." (direct quote from friend of mine)
basically, BEING THIS.


my opinion is this:
taking the definition of hipster we established at the beginning of this post, there is no shame in being a hipster. it is perfectly okay to like "popular" bands. it is perfectly okay to admit that your favorite song is electric feel. it is perfectly okay that you only found out about spoon after gimme fiction. it is perfectly okay to admit that you just realized grizzly bear are awesome. IT IS PERFECTLY OKAY TO ADMIT THAT YOU DIDN'T ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION BECAUSE REALLY YOU DON'T CARE THAT MUCH AND YOU CAN WAIT FOR IT TO COME OUT.
when you mutate this to the definition of hipster mocked in great and accurate toothpaste for dinner cartoons, THEN that is the kind of hipster you don't want to be, and that is a truly derogatory term.

todd p has some great stuff to say on the subject:

"Lately I want to bring back the term "Scenester," because at least that one implies involvement in something, some formative following of an underground scene — vague all-encompassing hipsterdom strikes me as parasitically passive — whereas I feel like you gotta be active and contribute to a community to be a scenester. Subtract the scenesters from the amorphous mass of hipsters and what you have is the group of people that most folks are meaning to dis when they say "hipster" — that crew is the "Trendsters" — the least positive group of hip kids out there, trendsters surf around on other people's ideas rather than coming up with new ideas of their own.
The best kind of hipster is defining his/her own culture, and following his/her own tastes outside of trends and commercial bullshit."
--- Todd P, concert booker / show organizer / etc.

i am reasonably sure that todd means "following his/her own tastes" as "YOU CAN LIKE WHATEVER MUSIC YOU WANT AND YOU SHOULD NOT BE ASHAMED." if you are ashamed to like "popular" bands because they're "popular," then you are a hipster in the bad sense of the word, and, worse, the very individual your hero holden caulfield famously derided, "a phony." to quote joan didion again, "that is when you are in bad trouble."


more wisdom:
"i don't believe in guilty pleasures." --- britt daniel, spoon frontman



to prove this, appearing for the second time on this blog is possibly my favorite cover of all time:
TOO LITTLE TOO LATE [JOJO COVER] --- DAN ROSSEN OF GRIZZLY BEAR

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009

here is a gift for your new year:
IN THE NEW YEAR --- THE WALKMEN
AND I KNOW THAT IT'S TRUE
IT'S GONNA BE A GOOD YEAR