Thursday, February 19

Something Good Can Work

As the month of February progresses I’ve been refining some of my opinions about the music it has yielded. Here are some observations:

Of the three bands that I mentioned in the post before last I still enjoy Glasvegas but don’t think they lived up to the hype, love The Joy Formidable even more and feel the same about The Sound of Arrows.

They Joy Formidable are as big a find as I have ever stumbled across. They right tight, exceedingly well produced and catchy pop-rock. They have female vocals that alternate from sexy and direct to gauzy and remote (see “While the Flies” and “My Beer Drunk Soul is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees” respectively, and what a great name for a song that last one is). They have amazing guitar breakdowns and face-melting bass lines (particularly on “Austere”) that remind me of another band with the word “Joy” in their name… The sound is very different but when a bass thinks it’s a guitar and a guitar thinks it’s a keyboard I usually think Joy Division. On occasion they also channel this shoe-gaze vibe that makes me think of My Bloody Valentine’s first album (the song in question is “Ostrich”). If J.D. and M.B.V. are what I think you sound like them you can be guaranteed that I’ll heart your music.

I can’t recommend these guys highly enough. They have past three weeks of fairly constant listening without me getting sick of them.

Glasvegas have one great song (though that might be untrue, I haven’t heard the whole catalogue). “Geraldine” tells a great story, drives well with a big guitar sounds and the band seems to try and replicate that on every other track that I’ve heard. I don’t want to write them off because I do like their sound I just think they need to figure out how to get beyond the one trick pony show. Sound of Arrows is the same, like I said above. I like them, they’re fun. I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy their album but I think they are worth looking up.

Add to the list of February’s notable finds these bands/artists. I’m going to try and keep this brief so it will be confined to the artist’s name, a quick review and the songs that I like.

1.) AC Newman – A New Pornographer’s spin-off band that sounds a little Peter, Bjorn & John. He has a really nice voice, there are violins in some of the songs and he covered “Take Me On” by A-ha!
Listen to: “The Heartbreak Rides,” “Submarines of Stolkholm” and the aforementioned cover.

2.) La Roux – Sultry dance music that has a woman’s voice in it that I can’t shake out of my head some days…
Listen to: “In For the Kill” and “Fascination.”

3.) Ellie Goulding – Singer-songwriter stuff but with a touch of electronic beat and production added. She has hooks that don’t let go and a way of singing a chorus that makes me smile.
Listen to: “Wish I Stayed” and “Guns + Horses.”

Just take my word and listen to these:

“John the Revelator” by Nicholas Jaar
“Pen to the Paper” by PARLOVR
“Astoria, Menthol Lite, Hilltop, Wave of Evil 1982” by Blackout Beach
“Lemmings Anthem” The Oohlas

Listening to “LAX Files” by The Game and “Hero (feat. Keri Hilson)” by Nas because I feel like listening to a little of that G-Rap shit. Post title by Two Door Cinema Club which is another band to look into. The picture in this post has very little to do with anything… it’s the moon from my back yard.

Monday, February 16

The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade

Sorry. No pictures of the Passion Pit show. I seem to only take blurry pictures at concerts. They look more abstract than anything.

The show itself was great. Fantastic set by both the headliner and opener, Paper Route. There were numerous crazy people there, which provided much of the entertainment. White jackets, lots of leg warmers, etc.

We had a lovely Valentine’s Day. I cooked. It didn’t suck. I don’t seem to have food poisoning. I count it as a success.

This weekend we also went to The National Gallery of Art to see the Robert Frank exhibit and walk around downtown. A lot of fun. Except for the loss of a sweater on the way home.

I also found some steady employment with my aunt. Hooray for nepotism! Hooray for free parking, more!

School is getting crazy with reading. I need to start writing papers already. There are two concerts coming soon: Tokyo Police Club and Say Hi. I’ll try and learn to take non-abstract photos for them.

Listening to “Austere” by The Joy Formidable and “Tigress” by Songs: Ohio. Post title is by The Joy Formidable. So good, check it out.

Tuesday, February 3

Unfinished Business

So much to talk about. Let’s start at the start, shall we?

1.) Classes seem to be going well. I say “seems” because I’ve only had one day of school thus far. Tuesday and Wednesday were both canceled due to the Snowpocalyse in D.C. I like how Obama called us all sissies for freaking out about it. Today will be day two and I still haven’t had my History class. Let’s hope Medieval Islamic historiography is as interesting as it sounds! (The last statement was not sarcastic)

2.) I am easily excitable. Anyone who reads this, has know me for a while or sees me walk past something shiny can attest. So it should come as no surprise that the GI Joe, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek movie trailers during the Super Bowl had me acting like a coked up chihuahua. I didn’t watch the game mind you… they appeared soon after on the Interwebs. I suggest you find them and drool along with me.

3.) I urge anyone who takes issue with teramedy (that’s teen-drama-comedy) to skip ahead to number 4. Gossip Girl was fantastic last night. The male protagonist, Dan Humphrey, and his new English teacher pulled “a Letourneau.” This is in fact what the show called it, but it wasn’t nearly as skeezy as you might think. Television is populated by far more attractive people. And they totally "make it" to "With A Heavy Heart ( I Regret to Inform You)" by Does It Offend You, Yeah? which is a pretty sweet doing-it song. There was also a new plot development when Chuck (the nihilistic, super-rich sometimes-villain) stumbled across a secret society that he thought was just the “world’s greatest gentleman’s club.” Also: Blair’s constant misquoting of classic movie lines was highly entertaining.

4.) The “New Music: February” playlist is complete. I haven’t yet made it all the way through the fifty odd songs on it but there are a few early gems to share:

“Geraldine” by Glasvegas – This isn’t a new song, per se, but I have finally relented and given a listen to these Scottish kids. I was apprehensive about the name… something that can turn me away from a band quicker than it should (see: Fiery Furnaces, Arcade Fire, Los Campesinos! until I realized they all do good things). Glasvegas does good things too. An ode to a social worker, with a great hook, a heavy accent (like “I would walk 5,000 miles” heavy)… I’ll take it.

“Cradle” by The Joy Formidable – It’s just so happy and fun, but with a kick-ass bass line and better-than-you-would-expect guitar work. The girl’s voice and the falsetto of her band mates as backing vocals only add. Check them out.

“M.A.G.I.C.” by The Sound of Arrows – The guy is trying so hard to sound like the Pet Shop Boys it’s almost sad. But I love the Pet Shop Boys… so never mind. I think swaying to this song might be required. Spelling things out in the chorus is also a big draw for me.

The Animal Collective album also seems like it would be worth listening to. I’ve heard “My Girls” and “In The Flowers” and both are as strong as anything off Feels. The line in the latter: “there, we could be dancing / and you’d smile and say ‘I love this song’” is one of those song moments that might mean nothing to most people but makes you smile to yourself. I still think that they sound too much like hippies in a meadow but the addition of synth and tighter instrumentation do lessen that repugnant image.

5.) I’m going to Passion Pit at the Black Cat tonight. It’s going to be sweet. I hope to bring back good photos and whatnot.

Listening to “Ostia” by Zu. Post title from White Lies off To Loss My Life (it sounds like if Depeche Mode and New Order had a baby).