Friday, July 31, 2009

The Friday Thing: Nantes by Beirut

About two weeks ago, I was watching Later With Jools Holland, and I found that Beirut were were performing. Until this point, I really did not give them a second glance, only having heard 'Postcards From Italy'. Granted I liked the song, so I decided to watch their set. After I watched 'Nantes', I was completely blown away. I did not realize how much talent the band as a whole had. So, for my Friday Thing, I chose the performance of 'Nantes' from La Blogotheque. This performance is even better than Later's, and it even has Will Sheff from Okkervil River in the band! I hope you enjoy!


Thursday, July 30, 2009


Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Status-Out as of 2009
4th Studio Album
Rating-3 Feathers

French band Phoenix are one of those bands: they come out with somewhat progressively better stuff, and couple of singles that could be mega hits, but they are still virtually unknown. They don’t take a whole lot of chances, never straying too far from their basic sound, but will their 4th effort ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ be their ticket to the big time?

The songs ‘Lisztomania’ and ‘1901’ start of the album, and honestly, have you heard a better opening? ‘Lisztomania’ is such a catchy song. It has a nice bright groove that clears your mind and sets you in the mood for dancing. Leading into ‘1901’, that mood you were in sure comes in handy: you can’t help but bop around to it. The song immediately sucks you in with synth/guitar combination, and proceeds to infect you with its relentless hooks and guitar riffs. Unfortunately, past this point, there are no other songs that make quite the same impact, but there are a few good ones. ‘Fences’ is a heavy disco-influenced tune. It’s calm, and mellows you out, but its falsetto vocals make it standout from the rest. ‘Rome’ is another one. It’s not very upbeat, like ‘Fences’, but it has this reflective quality about it. The flow of the song is perfect: it starts out very Interpol with dramatic guitars in the background, and slowly builds. However, just before it peaks, it stops and Thomas Mars has a very somber solo moment, but it quickly dives back into what it hadn’t finished. It’s absolutely perfect. Except for ‘Love Like a Sunset Pt.1 & Pt. 2’, which is an intense 6 minute mess of self-indulgence, none of the other songs really stick out. They are all well performed and generically catchy, but they are nothing to shout about.

As a whole, ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ was a mild disappointment. With shear awesome songs like ‘Lisztomania’ and ‘1901’, you’d expect the rest to ring loudly, but they (for the most part) only pinged. Mostly, nothing was in particularly bad, but nothing except for four were overtly fantastic. I do feel that ‘Wolfgang’ was a quality effort, and I’m a Phoenix fan now, but I doubt it’ll really make them known for more than that band with the guy who was almost in Daft Punk.

“When we were recording it, I listened for one month only to the Smiths, every album. Then I got bored and listened only to Crosby, Stills Nash and Young. But only the songs written by David Crosby.”-Laurent Brancowitz


Recommendations: Lisztomania, 1901, Fences, Rome
Phoenix's Official Website
Note: I hope you like this, it was one of the easiest reviews I written in a long while, but I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. I will be working on MGMT or oF Montreal so stay tuned. I appreciate your comments!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Video for Crying Lightning by Arctic Monkeys

The first single for Arctic Monkeys Humbug is 'Crying Lightning', which was released a few weeks ago. Yesterday the video was premiered and I must say, it ain't no 'Fluorescent Adolescent'. It has some of the cheesiest cinematography I have ever seen, and it's so not what you'd come to expect of them noting the fact that the videos for 'Fake Tales of San Francisco' and 'Fluorescent Adolescent' were so epic. I really hope this is no representation of what's to come, and I'm trying to keep as optimistic as possible.

Crying Lightning

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Friday Thing: No Sunlight by Death Cab For Cutie

Ian France turned me on to the 'Black Cab Sessions' awhile ago, so I decided to check it out. This is one cool cab, very reminicent of the idea the 'Behind Closed Doors', the performances in an elevator, had. I heard this song alot on the radio a while back, and I have to say, this acoustic version is beautiful. Death Cab for Cutie really know how to make a song fit the summer months! I hope you enjoy!

No Sunlight

Thursday, July 23, 2009


March of the Zapotec/Holland-
Label-Ba Da Bing Records
Status-Out as of 2009
Rating-4 Feathers

Prominently known for the use of ukuleles, accordions, and euphoniums, Beirut has one of the most distinctive sounds in indie music today. After two largely successful releases (Gulag Orkestar, The Flying Club Cup), each characterized by their epic brassy parts, Zach Condon and Co. have decided it’s time for a change: March of the Zapotec/Holland is that change.

The March of the Zapotec half of this double EP is a continuation of what Beirut has come to stand for, with a little Mexican flair. Songs like ‘The Akara’ feature the basic ukulele and brassy arrangements, but with the drums beating to a very ethnic Mexican rhythm. Though the other song each bring something to the side, ‘The Shrew’ sticks out like an elephant among beavers. It’s a bright waltz that quickly builds up into a magnificent fanfare of sorts, and after the glory coolly returns to the original theme.

The Holland half, with Zach Condon using the pseudonym Realpeople, consists of a large departure from their sound to happy little electronica. Though kind of confused by the title, ‘My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille’ is the best song hands down on the whole EP. The playful synthesizer creates a catchy cheerful melody that unless you heard it, you’d never guess that Zach’s voice would go so well with it. ‘Venice’ is a lot less cheery. The synthesizer sounds like it’s losing touch and spacing out, but when you add the overtly dramatic vocals, it creates a sound you’ve never heard until now.

As a whole, the two concepts go awkwardly well together. Each one compliments the others in ways you’d never expect. Every song is good, and none of it’s unlistenable, except for the self-indulgent ‘On a Bayonet’ and the slightly distasteful ‘The Concubine’. That aside, I commend Beirut for taking a leap and releasing something that’s so different from what they are used to and then nailing it. If this is any representation of what they will be doing with their next album, I know for a fact it’s going to be good.

“Let's say there's a month when I'm a little sick of hearing the songs I'm recording, I'll slink back to my parents' house and very quietly record these epic synth-pop tracks, and kind of clear the palette and get back into it. They're different aspects of my personality, I guess.”-Zach Condon

Video for La Llorona

Recommendations: The Akara, The Shrew, My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille, No Dice
Beirut's Official Website
Note: I hope you enjoy! I must say, I'm a Beirut fan now! I will be reviewing either MGMT or Phoenix next so stay tuned. I appreciate your comments!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Friday Thing: 1901 by Phoenix

Within the past week, I've become absolutely obsessed with this song, I don't know why. The video for it is awesome, and the song has a subtle tone of dance while still inkeeping their basic guitar indie. Now, for my Friday Thing: A couple of weeks ago, I saw this performance on It's On With Alexa Chung. Yeah. Regardless of the program and the fact that it's a more stripped down version, it's still a really great song. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 16, 2009


Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Status-Out as of 2007
6th Studio Album
Rating-4 Feathers

Even with five albums down, Spoon have always been the little guy: never making any life changing compositions or taking any major leaps-until now. ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’, the 6th edition to Spoon’s discography, is a journey through straight up indie, r & b, and brassy fanfare. It has something even the most casual Spoon fan can go ga ga over.

At first glance, the album seems a little weak. ‘Don’t Me a Target’ is a decent song that’s dramatic enough to be a starter, but it doesn’t really stick. For the 1st minute, the guitar and vocals together create a nice mellowed sound that is appealing, but then it never builds and it just drags. However, the 2nd song, ‘The Ghost of You Lingers’ is a gem. The staccato effect is genius, and then the airy vocals come in moving from speaker to speaker making the song perfect. ‘You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb’ and ‘Finer Feelings’ at first listen seem like nice little songs, each with simple guitar grooves and repetitive vocals. But, after listening to the album several times, they are really nothing special. They are a bit dry and monotonous compared to songs like ‘Don’t You Evah’, a cover of The Natural History’s ‘Don’t You Ever’. ‘Don’t You Evah’ also features a simple guitar riff, however, it is an exciting, danceable song. This is one of the best covers I’ve ever heard for it’s cleaner and Britt Daniel’s vocals are so much catchier and amiable. ‘The Underdog’ is another brilliant song. The horn arrangement following the rhythm guitars is just perfect, and the bright tone makes you smile. Though the Billy Joel influence is very evident in the song, it is an absolutely astounding song. The album ends with the somber ‘Black Like Me’. At first, it makes you want to cry with the opening line being ‘I’m in need of someone to take care of me tonight’, but the abrupt stop during the pinnacle of the song is very unsatisfying.

As a whole, this album was very well done. None of it is unlistenable, and there are very distinct ‘hits’ which will surely gain Spoon some well-deserved recognition. Though not every song is a sure standout, they each bring something different to the table helping create a nice indie gem. They may not be the most popular or well known, but after creating ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’, Spoon will now surely be known as more than the underdog.

“Well, I'm never trying to be commercial or accessible, or saying "let's do this weird stuff, but at the same time we gotta do this safe stuff," you know? I never think about it that way. I'm usually way more pleased with the stuff that just kinda happens by accident and is no way a pop song.”-Britt Daniel

Video for The Underdog

Recommendations: The Ghost of You Lingers, Don't You Evah, The Underdog, Black Like Me
Spoon's Official Website
Note: I hope you enjoy! I'm working hard to get more reviews out quicker, and I hope your reading them. I'll have Beirut's 'March of the Zapotec' out next, so stay tuned. I appreciate your comments!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time to Die Album Leak

Within the past week, The Dodos's 3rd album, Time to Die, was leaked onto the internet. The album is still due out on CD September 15th in the US, but there will be a newly scheduled digital release on July 28th. To combat the leak, The Dodos are now streaming the entire album on their website. I really feel badly for them. This has got to blow being that they probably worked so hard only to have it randomly put out two months before it was supposed to. In the video explaining what the deal was, Meric sounds so defeated. I'm not going to do too much listening of the album until the 15th when the physical copy comes out, but even if you do listen to it on their website, I'd suggest buying it to support the band.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The Friday Thing: Rigs of the Times by Bellowhead

Later...with Jools Holland is known for having an eclectic group of performers on each episode. It's really performances like this that make it really great. I saw this performance a real long while ago, and I never heard of Bellowhead until this. I really enjoyed the circus-y feel to this song, and it turns out the album was called 'Burlesque'.I also loved the fact that they really created their own sound with strings and horns and made it very catchy and appealing. I hope you enjoy!

Rigs of the Times

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Person Pitch-
Panda Bear
Label-Paw Tracks
Status-Out as of 2007
3rd Studio Album
Rating-4.5 Feathers

As one of the founding members of the freak folk/psychedelic band Animal Collective, Noah Lennox, or as most know him Panda Bear, is known for his intense percussion and for bringing the pop element into all his musical endeavors. Now on his own again, and wanting to do something completely different from his previous release Young Prayer, Person Pitch was created with a few machines and a microphone.

From the first scratchy sound to the last note, Person Pitch completely sets you in a calmed yet encouraging mood. ‘Comfy in Nautica’ sets the tone perfectly and puts you in just that state of mind immediately. The semi-chant-y looped sample underneath simple vocals paint a picture of sitting on a beach, alone, and perfectly content. ‘Take Pills’ follows in that mood. However, after ‘things get better/just wait and you’ll see’ is sung, the song starts to kick up into an upbeat excitement. It’s inspiring to hear him discuss stopping his use of antidepressants using poppy melodies with a cheery undertone. ‘Bros’ and ‘Good Girl/Carrots’ are 12 minute long masterpieces. ‘Bros’ has feel good samples flawlessly melded together that goes on for 12 minutes with minimal structural change, but it never gets boring. The bright tropical sounding guitar fits the feel-good mood perfectly. ‘Good Girl/Carrots’ is beyond brilliant. Sucking you in with manic drumming and highly filtered vocals, it is significantly darker than the other songs. Just as it’s about to get a little monotonous, ‘Carrots’ subtle-y eases in. ‘Carrots’ is much less serious than the ‘Good Girl’ portion, bringing with it unadulterated joy. The bouncy piano and extremely poppy vocals singing rhymes like ‘sticks and stones may break my bones’ gives the album a sugary coating. Then, just when it seems like it can’t get any more light and fluffy, you hear a tune reminiscent of the ice cream truck melody. If that doesn’t bring you happiness, you are dead inside. In between those masterpieces are songs like ‘I’m Not’ and ‘Search for Delicious’ which have clear connections to Animal Collective with their spacey layers, but are purely Panda’s own style, notably his near unintelligible lyrics (due in part by Panda’s ability to completely mess with pronunciations). The last song, ‘Ponytail,’ is mildly disappointing. It’s a decent song, equipped with semi-catchy blips and well-composed synths, but it just doesn’t pack a punch that a finale should have.

Person Pitch is one of those albums where you are in a completely different state coming out of it than you were going into it. It is only 45 minutes, but it changes your perspective, leaving you feeling calm and generally good. As a solo act, Panda Bear shows that he can bring something to plate that his other projects just can’t.

“That song [Comfy in Nautica] was so sugary and it almost got to the point where I didn’t like how it sounded. I thought it was too sweet, like fake sweet? So I thought I would kind of ground it at the end by putting something really fucked up and dark in there.”-Noah Lennox (Panda Bear)

Video for Comfy in Nautica

Recommendations: Comfy in Nautica, Take Pills, Bros, Good Girl/Carrots
Panda Bear's Official Website
Note: This review really took a lot to write, so I hope that translates and you enjoy! I will have a review for Gax5 by Spoon out soon. (I'm a poet and I didn't even know it O_o) Remember, requests are welcome and comments are much appreciated!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Friday Thing: Joe's Waltz by The Dodos

Sure, it's a cell phone video, but it's one of the most impressive. Joe's Waltz is one of the best songs (if not the best) of 2008, and one of the best (in my mind) of the decade. For this performance, Meric Long looks like he's completely affected by the music, and it's so powerful to watch him get into it so much that he may fall off his stool. Also, I feel so bad for Logan Kroeber because that's really an intense drum part. Watching the song affect them that much truly gives you the same feeling!

Joe's Waltz