Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On Repeat - 8/31/2011

MP3: Dum Dum Girls - Coming Down

I kind of love Dum Dum Girls. They are just one of those effortlessly cool groups of all females that make me want to relive the days when I used to rock out myself. I'm totally psyched for their new album coming out in about a month, and this little teaser is satiating my anticipation for the time being. The echo-y vocals are mysterious and sad. It's the perfect accompaniment to a late night subway ride home. If you're lucky and it's raining, no one will see your tears.

Love this summery track off TV Girl's new EP of the same name. Read my review of the record over at The Wild Honey Pie right here.

I don't know why I like this track from Wayne Memmers of Vacation. This spacey, off-tune kind of stuff is definitely not my bag. But for some reason I keep getting drawn to it. Maybe I'm really into stoners? Over on TWHP here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On Repeat - 8/11/2011

MP3: Not Blood Paint - Army

A couple weeks ago I went to see Not Blood Paint at The Knitting Factory totally blind. Before the show, my friend Mike Levine assured me, "There is no way this band is overhyped." So I immediately thought, "This band is overhyped." So not the case. I was thoroughly impressed with the musicality present in Not Blood Paint's creative, hard core songs. These boys know how to play their instruments well and every one of them has true talent in powerful singing voices. "Army" is a new song and was a highlight of the set. My friends and I were singing "They said I wasn't cut out for the Army," for days afterward. Adding to the pleasure of seeing this band live was the high level of theatrics during the show. Band members wore extravagant clothing reminiscent of the Stonehenge scene in This Is Spinal Tap and their faces were completely painted. A group of devoted fans were dressed and painted all in white. They circulated throughout the audience, offering face paint to anyone that wanted to join in on the fun. Almost everyone drank the Kool-Aid and it was a wonderful experience. I will go see these guys anytime they are playing. Hopefully we will get the opportunity soon!

This is not blood, it's paint.

Photo of Not Blood Paint courtesy of Tamara Cabrero.

Is "unconsolable" a real word? It doesn't matter. I love this song. Read my review of the track over on The Wild Honey Pie here. The only thing I would add is that it was such a pleasure to be able to read the lyrics to "Unconsolable," which are on display on Ambassadors' Bandcamp page. It brought me back to the physical product experience of putting on a record, sitting down and reading the lyrics along with the band. Because the words of the song were right in front of me, I was more in touch with the song, less distracted by other browser tabs, or my Twitter feed. Excellent job Ambassadors!

Recently had the chance to review Bryan John Appleby's newest album Fire On The Vine for The Wild Honey Pie. Really grateful for the opportunity to have discovered him as he is similar to Fleet Foxes and I have not been able to stop listening to Helplessness Blues all summer. "Boys" was my favorite song on the album. Read my whole review, which includes a relatively in-depth description of the track here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sufjan Stevens at Prospect Park Celebrate Brooklyn! 8/2/2011

Am I being a snob by making the statement that Sufjan Stevens's Age of Adz show at Prospect Park on Tuesday was less than stellar?

Let me be clear: I am a Sufjan fan. And although Age of Adz is a complete departure from his previous albums, I enjoyed his exploration into auto-tuned electronics. Additionally, I think Sufjan himself did an excellent job. He was energetic and devoted to the material. He explained the Royal Robertson/inner body/outer space inspiration behind Age of Adz and won the Brooklyn crowd over by reminiscing about riding his bike through Prospect Park and attending Celebrate Brooklyn! shows himself. He was brilliant, especially in the moments when he would slow things down and perform a quiet song by himself (side note: a plane would indefinitely fly overhead very loudly every time this happened) but the whole idea of Age of Adz is to be out of body, experiencing an electronic mind trip with the musicians and your audience peers all at the same time.

That was the problem. The rest of the people on stage (excluding Sufjan, his dancers, his backup singers, and the guy on his left playing keyboards) were virtually motionless. It was difficult to get involved and excited when it didn't seem like anyone else was. A lot of the audience came decked out in neon clothing and face paint (two things I am a huge fan of by the way), ready to participate in the party. But it seemed like we weren't invited. Sure there were impressive light shows/lasers for us to ogle at and various amazing costume changes, but those can only do so much. I feel like we craved more of a human connection; we wanted to lose ourselves in the music and the mood, but we weren't afforded that opportunity because the people we were looking to for guidance weren't losing themselves either. They just kind of stood there.

Luckily this was not the case for the entire show. When the band released about a hundred clear beach balls into the crowd halfway into the epic "Impossible Soul" the performer/audience barrier was broken and we were finally part of the inner circle. As the songs says, "We can do much more together," and this was certainly the case. Once we were involved, the feeling was incredible. I finally had that summer concert euphoria I was expecting to have from the very first strum of Sufjan's banjo. Unfortunately, this was the last song.

I'm usually against encores, but one was needed here. Please Sufjan, now that you have my attention, let this feeling carry on for a few more songs. The encore was 3 songs long. We all sang "Casimir Pulaski Day" together and Sufjan closed out the night was the can't-go-wrong "Chicago." I left happy.

So yes, there were moments of brilliance. And a few of them could not have been pulled off by anyone by Sufjan himself. But this isn't the latest Brooklyn buzz band we are talking about here. This is SUFJAN STEVENS. I expected about 100% epicness and I only got about 40%. I do think I know who I want to be for Halloween though.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On Repeat - 8/3/2011

Bit of a catch-up On Repeat. The next one will definitely have some newer ish.

MP3: JEFF The Brotherhood - Something In The Way (Nirvana Cover)

In case you didn't already know, Nirvana's Nevermind is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a massive, most likely expensive boxed set. If you don't have pockets deep enough to drop the cash, is offering the next best thing (kinda). Newermind is a compilation of great artists covering Nevermind songs. The lineup includes Surfer Blood, Amanda Palmer, even The Vaselines, who Kurt Cobain once named his all-time faves. It's always great to listen to covers of classics. Will the coverer pay homage to the artist by remaining faithful to the original recording or will they put their own unique spin on the song? Two of my favorite tracks from Newermind display both ends of the spectrum. JEFF The Brotherhood's "Something In The Way" sounds eeriely similar to the original, maybe with a bit crunchier guitars. On the other hand, Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band's version of "Stay Away" sounds completely new. They've taken the upbeat grunge screamer and turned it into a soul classic throwback (if you aren't already hip to Charles Bradley, do yourself a favor and check out some YouTube videos, he will not disappoint).

Tennis released an all-right album earlier this year, but none of the tracks are as good as their recent cover of Brenda Lee's "Is It True?" On this throwback track, Alaina Moore's voice has never sounded better.

"Wolves" is not the best track put out by UK's The Good Natured, but it maintains the gothic pop sounds I fell in love with on previous tracks "Be My Animal" and "Your Body Is A Machine." I seriously gobble up anything this band does. "Wolves" is on their new Skeleton EP.

Yes, yes, yes. Late on the Austra train by a few months. Truth is, I never gave them a listen until after I saw them open up for tUnE-yArDs a few weeks ago. They were all right and fun to watch. I was especially intrigued with the way they treated vocals. While not necessarily out front in the mix all the time, the effects are relatively clean. "Lose It" is their most popular song and it's a wonderful showcase of lead singer Kate Stelmanis's talent.

Monday, August 1, 2011

TWHP: Bon Accord At Your Summer BBQ [FREE MP3]

Recently started writing for the The Wild Honey Pie blog and you can read my first piece for them on English electronic artist Bon Accord over here. Very excited about this new venture!