Friday, December 25, 2009

The Friday Thing: Last Christmas by Arctic Monkeys

You all, those who read, know that I saw Arctic Monkeys earlier this month and thought this performance was great. I know I posted this same video in that review, but hey, today is Christmas. Last year, my Christmas Friday Thing was Arctic Monkeys Christmas message, and quite frankly I can't think of a better way to show holiday spirit than through Arctic Monkeys. Merry Christmas everyone, and if you don't celebrate, happy holidays!

Last Christmas

As a special treat-here's Julian Casablancas performing "I Wish it was Christmas Today" on Jimmy Fallon

I Wish it Was Christmas Today

Sunday, December 20, 2009

LINES OF ORATION PRESENTS: The Top 20 Songs of 2009

I've been attempting to pay very close attention to new music this year, and here's my top 20 of '09:
#20. Actor out of Work by St. Vincent-I heard this song a while back, and I really think she's got something going. I don't know much about Annie Clark (except that she's a former member of the Polyphonic Spree), but "Actor Out of Work", with its upbeat and very electronic sounding guitars with her really sounding like she's gone 'mad', convinced me to keep an eye out for future releases.
#19. Nothing to Worry About by Peter, Bjorn, and John-"Nothing to Worry About" is the epitome of weird. It's nothing like their crowning achievement "Young Folks", in fact it's like it's a different band. The chorus is so violently annoying and it almost sounds like they are trying too hard to make it strange, but I love it. The clapping/drums along with the verse have been grilled so far into my head that I cannot deny its wonderful oddness.
#18. Games for Days by Julian Plenti-Interpol have been on a break for a while, and Paul Banks naturally decided to pursue a side project he entitled Julian Plenti. I only bought the album recently, but I've been living with "Games for Days" for awhile. I love how Paul adds just enough creepiness to his vocals, but what really makes the song for me is that it sounds as though he's trying to create a sound different from Interpol, but not so different that he abandons what he's come to be known for.
#17. Animal by Miike Snow-My local radio station played this song to death thus beating it into my head. I've come to adore it, and it's mix of Genesis-sounding vocals along with a simple synthesizer is just catchy enough to keep it in your head for a few weeks. I mean, to this day I still can't get "I'm still I'm still an animal" out of my brain.
#16. All is Love by Karen O and the Kids-When you saw commercials for Where the Wild Things Are, do you remember hearing the absolutely adorable and cutesy songs that delighted your ears? Well, I do. I don't think it was the song that made me go see the movie, but I will forever associate this song with that lovable movie. It's the cutest song of the year, and if it doesn't make you gush with joy, nothing will.
#15. Sleepyhead by Passion Pit-Passion Pit were deemed the next big thing for 2009 in 2008, and it's this song that made me understand why. I heard it first from the Palm Pixi commercial, and it's the only song I've ever heard in a commercial that I haven't gotten sick of after hearing 40+ times and that hasn't destroyed the song in the process: I actually look forward to seeing the commercial.
#14. Daniel by Bat For Lashes-For some reason, I don't really listen to a lot of female musicians: I don't know why. I really like Natasha Khan's voice in this song. I can't stand it how a lot of the female singers today sound the same, but she seems different. "Daniel" has enough weirdness to it, with the strings and the fantastical aura, that sticks with you and her soft voice fits in really well.
#13. Say Please by Monsters of Folk-I was going through a little Bright Eyes phase when I heard "Say Please" on the radio. It's that song alone that convinced me to buy the album. I love the way the three of them swap vocals and furthur how their distinct voices meld perfectly. The wholesomeness is undeniable (and so are the Traveling Wilburys comparisons) which makes for an all around feel good mood.
#12. In the Flowers by Animal Collective-I pop in Merriweather Post Pavilion for the first time. I'm completely new to them, I've never heard one song by them before this song. It starts off a little slow to me, but I'm quickly intrigued when the vocals come in. Then, the most beautiful magical thing to ever grace my ears comes half way. Happiness and pure joy fills me. The line "then we could be dancing and you'd smile and say I like this song" tells all. To this day, whenever I hear it, shivers rush through me.
#11. Lisztomania by Phoenix-Other than 1901, this, to me, was the second best song from "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix"; many argue that it's the best. I love the general bright, summery feel it gives, and because I decided to review the album during the summer months, I will forever associate this song with care-free summer days. Also, how could you not love how seemingly composer crazy they are?
#10. Secret Door by Arctic Monkeys-This song was one of the few steps forward, to me, on "Humbug". After the strangely not creative "Dangerous Animals", "Secret Door" comes through like sunlight peaking through window cracks. It is a beautifully arranged piece with a very intriguing structure that builds to a magnificent ending. It's very different from what they've done before (and on the album), but it was definitely a genius work.
#9. Two Medicines by The Dodos-As a whole, "Time to Die" was not a terrible album. Most of the songs were very (sometimes painfully) similiar, but they were well performed. The song that stuck out the most was " Two Medicines". I never listened to a song that embodied the feeling of autumn as well as this one. It's pounding drums and trance-y guitar will make you beyond stoked for the oncoming cold months, not dreadful.
#8. Pretty Visitors by Arctic Monkeys-On "Humbug", there were really only two really brilliant songs: "Secret Door" and "Pretty Visitors". This song came at you like a ton of bricks-from start to finish, it doesn't stop. It's the most upbeat on the album and possibly the heaviest they've ever done. In keeping with the sound of the "Fluorescent Adolescent" single, it's everything I had hoped the album would've sounded like and more.
#7. My Girls by Animal Collective-On my first listen of "Merriweather Post Pavilion", this song was the one song where hours afterward I found myself singing it. Now, after listening to more than half their catalogue, I still think it's a genius song. The layered vocals singing about not caring for material things is way cool of them, but my favorite part remains the absolutely perfect drums and little water-y sound effects. Also, for those who haven't seen-it has by far the best video.
#6. Daylight by Matt and Kim-Sure, like many indie-ish songs this year it was ruined by being in a commercial, but if it weren't for that commercial, I, like many others, probably would have never been introduced to the sunshine-y "Daylight". When Matt and Kim perform, they smile incessantly, and it's almost creepy, but the happiness translates to you even if you can't see them. The bright piano and joyful singing by the end become very reflective, almost melancholy, but it will still never cease to brighten your day.
#5. 1901 by Phoenix-This song is the catchiest song ever made. It will infect your brain, and the only way to cure it is to give in. The slight electronic feel, the guitar lines, and the amazingly catchy lyrics have brought me back to the idea that a basic pop song can be this good. I am very happy for Phoenix that they've made a break through this year, and I guarentee it's thanks to this outstanding song.
#4. My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille by Beirut-For a long time, I was resistant to Beirut. Then, when I saw him do "Nantes" on Later with Jools Holland, my feelings quickly changed. So, earlier this year, when I sat down to review his "March of the Zapotec" EP, my newfound love grew deeper. The 2nd half of the EP was all electronic-y stuff, and it started off with the brilliant "My Night...". It's very different from the usual stuff he does, but his fantastic voice backed by joyful synthesizers only made me want to listen to that EP more and more.
#3. Exogenesis: Symphony, Pt. 1-3 by Muse-Almost a year ago, Muse told us that their new album would be very string oriented. Well, it wasn't, except for the glorious 3 part symphony at the end. Words cannot ever hope to describe how insanely dramatic and intense the Exogenesises are. Even if the album sucked, this stretch would've kept it from terrible ratings. Matt Bellamy is really starting to show his stuff as an orchestrater, for this almost puts his string arrangements found on "Absolution" to shame.
#2. Walkabout by Atlas Sound-As "Two Medicines" did for fall, "Walkabout" is just about the perfect summer song, rivaling "Summertime Clothes" and The Beach Boys. It's so overtly positive and happy, and the sample they use is just out of control delightful. Plus, the vocals are perfect-Bradford Cox and Noah Lennox-could you really get better than that? It puts you in a massively good mood, and for that it's my number two.
#1. Brother Sport by Animal Collective-There's no arguing the fact that this year was Animal Collective's year. The album came out in January, and it was then, before 11 months worth of music was heard, that people deemed it album of the year. I wholeheartedly agree. After the seemingly hundreds of listens I gave the album, I think that "Brother Sport" was the best song. It takes the tone of previous Panda Bear songs like "Chores" and "Derek" with an infectious uplifting mood created by passionate poppy vocals and nonstop synths. The song basically sums up the near perfect album with grace and leaves you with no choice but to listen again, or atleast it leaves me that way.
I hope you liked my list, I worked long and hard on it and put in an uncomfortably large amount of thought. It's very bias, but hey, these are the songs that made up the soundtrack to my 2009.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Friday Thing: Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys and Mutha'uckas by Flight of the Conchords

This past week was a very sad week for television shows I watch. It's On with Alexa Chung (I can't even believe myself that I watched it) announced that she was cancelled and will not be returning for another season. Last week however, Alexa had on Arctic Monkeys as a musical guest who performed 'Cornerstone', and I've not enjoyed a performance on her show more than when I saw Phoenix perform. I probably loved it because it was aired the day before I went to see them.


Another bummer was that Flight of the Conchords, the absolutely amazing/quirky New Zealanders, will not be coming back for a 3rd season. I just got finished watching the second season when I heard the news, and that made me very sad. In regards to there discontinuing, this the video for "Mutha'uckas" where Bret and Jemaine show off their rapping skills. It was one of the best songs from season one, and I hope you enjoy!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Best Of...

The end of the year is nearing, and so is this wonderful (music-wise atleast) decade. Over the next two weeks, I, like every other music blogger, will be posting my Top 20 songs of '09, my Top 50 music videos of the Decade, and my Top songs of the Decade. I only waited this long because you never know what could happen in the last month-I mean, the greatest album of the decade more than likely wouldn't have come out in December of the last year of the decade, but everyone deserves a chance to be listened to and (possibly) added into someone's list. Hope to see you there.

Also, my lofty plans of having three reviews out by the end of the month was not a lie. I'm working on it!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


On Thursday night, I was fortunate enough to see Arctic Monkeys at Terminal 5 in NYC. The actual concert experience was fairly unsatisfying, but that didn’t detract from the fact that they were absolutely brilliant. The opening act was Screaming Females. As openers go, they were ok, but that’s the last time I’m listening to them. The three of them really know the way around their instruments, and the vocalist/guitarist made the most noise I’ve ever heard (both vocally and instrumentally), but, they were a tad too loud (which got obnoxious) and after three songs, they all started sounding the same. That facct would’ve been fine, except their set was 40 minutes. After they were done and the roadies came on to fix up everything, I noticed the music they were playing: Black Sabbath and George Harrison. The fact that I heard ‘Art of Dying’ by George Harrison really got me so psyched. Then, not a moment too soon, Arctic Monkeys ambled onto the stage and dove right into “Jeweller’s Hands”. Before the show, I hated “Jeweller’s Hands”, but that performance won me over. After the mind-numbingly awesome “Brianstorm” and about half-way through “This House is a Circus”, the crowd really started to get irritating and the whole floor turned into a mosh-pit. It was intense, but not for me. As expected with there earlier stuff, the audience beyond freaked out when they launched through “Still Take You Home”, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”, and “A View From the Afternoon”. The energy pulsed through you like nothing else. The ladder was very well performed, except for the fact that Alex messed up the verse pretty badly. I really don’t understand why, I mean I like the song a lot, but the audience had the heaviest reaction to “Cornerstone”. It was performed even better than the album, but I mean, the audience were less into it than they were for “Pretty Visitors”. All this brings us to the best, and utter highlight of the show: “Fluorescent Adolescent”. The bass for some reason sounded a little weird, like it had an odd poppy sound, but it added to the nice mellow take on it. To the audiences shock and glee, during the “Where did you go?” part, Matt left his drums and began to sing “Last Christmas”. That alone was seriously worth the price of admission and the pain in my back. I mean, everyone was cheering and singing very loudly: it was just fantastic moment! They ended the concert with a short two song encore, which they really could have made longer. As a whole, the concert was worth it. The music was great and very well performed. What I found was that Alex Turner is no longer the ‘star’-Matt Helders out shone them all. On the drums, it says “agile beast”: In describing Matt Helders, that is a serious understatement. He is a complete animal and is sickest drummer I’ve seen live so far! My only problem with the concert is that Terminal 5 was not built for this kind of show. When I went there to see The Shins, it too was sold out, but it was not nearly as crowded. They completely overbooked the place, and the over-extended/massive amount of space dedicated for VIP’s was completely stupid (if you didn’t want to mosh, you had no good place to go). I still loved the concert and I’d firmly suggest seeing Arctic Monkeys when you get the chance for you’ll see one of the best live acts around-just steer clear of the floor.

Jeweller’s Hands
This House is a Circus
Still Take You Home
Potion Approaching
Red Right Hand (Nick Cave Cover)
My Propeller
Crying Lightning
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
The View From the Afternoon
If You Were There Beware
Pretty Visitors
Do Me a Favour
Fluorescent Adolescent w/ Matt singing Last Christmas

Secret Door

Fluorescent Adolescent with Matt Helders singing 'Last Christmas'

NOTE: I hope you enjoy. I attended this concert with Ian France from Danish Poet!, so you'll be seeing this review over there soon, possibly with better pictures...maybe a different video. I put up that video because mine didn't come out so well, but I got all that on video plus Secret Door, so maybe I'll put that up later. If your reading this, and you attended either show, what did you think of it?

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Friday Thing: Lisztomania and One Time Too Many by Phoenix

I am a very big advocate/fan of La Blogotheque's 'Take Away Shows'. I really love them and think they create the perfect insight to how a performer does his/her thing. I was very happy to find out yesterday that Phoenix finally did one (which is surprising it took this long being they are from France too). Anyway, they did three: one for '1901', 'Long Distance Call', and this one. I really love how they did it on the top of a bus because not only do you get to see this great performance, but you get to see the streets of Paris too. They seem to have had a good time doing their thing, and I hope you enjoy!

1901 and One Time Too Many