Friday, May 29, 2009

The Friday Thing: Neo Consumer by Super Furry Animals

A while back, I was watching From The Basement with PJ Harvey, Free Blood, Operator Please, and Super Furry Animals. As most have, I had heard of Super Furry Animals, but never actually listened to them. The two songs from the hour that stuck out were 'White Chalk' by PJ Harvey, and 'Neo Consumer' by Super Furry Animals. I really do love this song, and constantly catch myself singing it, and you have to admit that this is a great performance. I hope you enjoy! 'neo consumer, neo consumer'

Neo Consumer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

TONIGHT-Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand
Status-Out as of 2009
3rd Studio Album
Rating-1.5 feathers

The dreaded 3rd album: The album that can make or break the career of even the most popular bands. Even bands like Coldplay and The Strokes fell flat on their faces with theirs, but is Franz Ferdinand any different? After the massive success of their self-named debut, and further success with ‘You Could Have it so Much Better’, they’ve decided to pull away from their post-punk, new-wave-y roots, and have cited reggae and electronica as prime influences for their anticipated 3rd album, ‘Tonight’. This alone brings me fear and curiosity. Starting with ‘Ulysses’, you are quickly bombarded with something that is not the Franz Ferdinand you expect. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty unbearable. The creepy “I’m sitting here watching you sleep” kinda vocals are really something awful. The chorus is really not original and the cheesy overtly electronic keyboard is what you’d expect from Lady Gaga, not them. ‘Turn it On’ is a little better than ‘Ulysses’, but it’s still nothing to shout about. It’s not all that original, and the lyrics are bad and very annoying. Written as the male ‘bragging to his friends’ perspective on a 1st kiss, ‘No You Girls’ is actually oddly endearing. It’s the best song off the album for the lyrics have some substance, it’s very catchy and loaded with hooks, and it’s possibly the closest thing to their old sound. ‘Send Him Away’ has a decent groove and it’s not destroyed by annoying dance synthesizers. However, the vocals have no spirit in them so they demolish any shred of the songs’ potential. ‘Twilight Omens’ is an improvement from the last song. Aided by the positive yet slightly eerie sound, they get the twilight part down, but the song generally just falls apart after the chorus. ‘Bite Hard’ starts with Alex Kapranos singing an almost sweet 40’s sounding monologue, but it’s quickly annihilated by a severely filtered and bombastic dance tune. I know that they are already pretty mainstream for an indie band, but I never knew they’d succumb to this. ‘What She Came For’ is just as terrible as ‘Bite Hard’. Who ever told him that the creepy staccato vocals were a good idea was clearly deaf. The chorus is the only thing remotely worth listening to. For some reason, I quite like ‘Live Alone’. It’s so abominably danceable, but I can’t deny how bunch fun it is to hop around to it. The bassline is shockingly good too. ‘Can’t Stop Feeling’ is also riddled with those terribly annoying synthesizers. It’s just not original and it’s beyond annoying. Compared to the alternate version, ‘Lucid Dreams’ is fairly unsatisfying. It doesn’t have the same zest, but it’s still not a completely horrible song. The beginning verse is the best part, but then this mix quickly goes down hill. They add in those synthesizers, and at the end have a synthesizer breakdown which is too self indulgent for it’s own good. ‘Dream Again’ is very experimental compared to the every other song on the album. It’s spacey-ness and the way his voice fits in makes it a nice surprise. It truly does not go with the rest of the album, but it is indeed a hidden gem. ‘Katherine Kiss Me’ is the same 1st kiss as ‘No You Girls’, just told from a girl’s ‘gentle’ perspective. It’s very cool of them to put both sides on the same album. The only major beef about this is that his voice isn’t really meant to be backed by a sweet acoustic guitar. As a whole, this was a weirdly scarring experience. I commend them for straying so far away from their basic sound, but I really don’t support writing a collection of mindless dance songs. I have expected more from Franz, but they are now the band who covers Britney Spear’s ‘Womanizer’, claiming it to be one of the best songs out now. What will be of Franz? Will they go back to their ‘Take Me Out’ oddness for their next release? Or will they continue to collapse under the pressure to make mindless hits? They will be the latter for Tonight.
"We'd picked up a lot of synthesisers and keyboards on tour over the previous couple of years but never had the chance to play with them. It's got more rhythm to it - it's much dancier than the second album."-Bob Hardy

Video for Ulysses

Recommendations: No You Girls, Live Alone, Dream Again
Franz Ferdinand's Official Website
Note: I promised that Midnight Boom review, but I'm putting it on the back burner (for now) in the attempt to review more recent stuff, so that will come eventually. I will next be reviewing Arctic Monkeys live at the Apollo so... I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Two days ago, on Muse's Twitter, it was announced that their new album is going to be called 'The Resistance' and it is set to be released in September! It was also revealed, based on a recent picture, that one of the songs is going to be called 'The United States of Eurasia'. I sense another revolutionary attitude in the works. There's also apparently going to be significantly more strings, so much so that Dom 'jokingly' said "we'll be knocking on Classic FM's door, you know?" Let's just pray that it lives up to the legacy that Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, and Black Holes and Revelations left for it. In the mean time, here's one of 3 videos of Muse in the studio.

Muse in the studio

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Friday Thing: First of the Gang to Die by Morrisey

I was thinking of something to put as my Friday thing, and I just breifly looked at Owen Pallett's twitter, and he was saying 'Happy 50th, Morrisey.' So I thought perfect, I'll make it a Morrisey performance. I saw this performance on a Glastonbury 2004 special, and this performance and the one for 'Irish Blood, English Heart' were the two things that made Morrisey win my heart. I hope you enjoy, and happy 50th Birthday Morrisey!

First of the Gang to Die

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SHOW REVIEW: THE SHINS LIVE @ Terminal 5 in NYC 5/18/09

Two nights ago, I was fortunate enough to get to see The Shins at Terminal 5 in NYC. I’ll tell you, it was everything I’d hoped it to be. The opening act was The Delta Spirit, and I can honestly say I’ve never heard of them before. The five of them were all very clearly and thoroughly passionate about their work, and they very easily won over the audience very quickly. They were very enjoyable, but I was thrilled to know that when they were done, The Shins were just moments away, and that kept me motivated through the pain developing in my legs. The lights dimmed and everyone lurched forward, starting to freak out as if it were The Beatles at Shea Stadium. When I saw Dave Hernandez come out first I was beyond ecstatic and seeing James Mercer really made it set in that they were here and only a few feet away. They launched off with ‘Australia’ which is one of my favorites and I couldn’t help but get giddy. They then proceeded through the next two songs on Wincing the Night Away without stopping. After a song or two, they introduced a special guest joining them on violin, and when I saw her, I was visibly the only person flipping out: It was Rebecca Zeller, the violinist of Ra Ra Riot! A few songs come and go, equipped with some new songs (that they didn’t have the decency to tell us the titles of), and a cover from, and I quote “One of the best fucking bands in the world”, also known in James Mercer’s mind as The Beach Boys, all leading up to the best performance of the night: ‘Caring is Creepy’. Every one in the room was singing their lungs out to this song, so much so that even though I was in front of James Mercer and very close to the front, I couldn’t hear him! When everyone is that connected and ‘into’ a song like that, how can that not affect you? After three more, they play the second best performance of ‘Sleeping Lessons’. It was another one where not only were the band happy and seemingly into playing it, but the audience was immensely enthusiastic about their choice as well. Even if they ended it right then and there, I can guarantee everyone would’ve been satisfied with the quality of their performance. For the encore, they play a Neil Young cover and the immensely popular ‘Know Your Onion!’. Throughout the whole show, in between songs, people would shout ‘New Slang’ prompting the band to reply with either a ‘We’ll get to all that” or James Mercer looking visibly miffed and then saying “That fucking song…”, so the time had come for them to fulfill their promise. Everyone sung in unison and not frantically like the others. It was really very cool hearing New Slang, the song that got me into The Shins, performed live. When the show ended, I can honestly say I didn’t want it to end. I loved every minute of it, and would easily do it again. I couldn’t stop smiling and I get filled with joy when I think of think of it! I still can’t get over that a Ra Ra Rioter was there either! As with every concert, there were a couple of disappointments. As you know, The Shins are a new Shins, with Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval out of the band, so they didn’t sound as immense or fully like The Shins I’ve come to know and love. If they didn’t get rid of them weeks before the show, I probably wouldn’t have been as angry. And the only other bad thing was that they didn’t play ‘So Says I’ or ‘Turn On Me’. I would thoroughly recommend going to see them, even if you only like them a little bit. They are a quality band and live act and it was well worth the wait!

Pam Berry
Phantom Limb
Girl Inform Me
Saint Simon
Red Rabbits
New Song
Mines Not a High Horse
Girl Don’t Tell Me (Beach Boys Cover)
New Song
Caring is Creepy
Girl On a Wing
Dry The Rain (Beta Band Cover)
Those to Come
Sleeping Lessons

Helpless (Neil Young Cover)
Know Your Onion!
New Slang

Sleeping Lessons

NOTE: Ian France attended the concert with me, so thank you to Ian France over at Danish Poet for filming the video so well! If anyone has the full set list and can tell me what the question marked ones are, that'd be great! I hope you enjoy!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Friday Thing: After Hours by We Are Scientists

For the past two weeks, I've been obsessed with this song. I heard it on a local radio station and I honestly couldn't get enough of it. It sounded familiar so I looked it up and I found that We Are Scientists performed it on Later with Jools Holland, so that must've been where I heard it. This performance is great for their voices sound very close to what they sound like in the studio. I hope you enjoy!

After Hours

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Friday Thing: Boys in the Band by The Libertines

I was watching 'Seven Ages of Rock: British Indie Rock' on VH1 classic, and they did a small portion on The Libertines. I was not too familiar with their sound, and I only ever heard their name. They showed a clip of 'Boys in the Band', and I don't know why, but I really like it! So, the other day I came across this video on youtube and I was the one they used, and, don't you know it, it was filmed on Later...With Jools Holland! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Boys in the Band

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Alison Mosshart+Jack White=The Dead Weather?

While I was flipping through this past weeks NME, I saw a picture of Alison Mosshart (The Kills) and Jack White (The White Stripes) on stage some place. Upon actually reading it, I was surprised to find that Jack White and she have formed a new band, along with the bassist, Jack Lawrence, from The Raconteurs and the guitarist, Dean Fertita, of Queens of the Stoneage. They call themselve The Dead Weather, and their first album 'Horehound' is to be released on June 9th 2009. Personally, I'm not a big fan. Though I commend Alison for trying something new, it just sounds like another Jack White project or atleast a spinoff of The Raconteurs and I'm really not a Jack White-sound fan. Well, I'll have to see once the album comes out. In the mean time, this is their first single 'Hang You From The Heavens'. Opinions?

Hang You From the Heavens

Sunday, May 3, 2009

FUNERAL-Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire
Label-Merge Records
Status-Out as of 2004, 1st Studio Album
Rating-5 Feathers

Forming in Montreal, husband and wife team Win Butler and Régine Chassagne started out as a meek duo in 2003 called Arcade Fire. Now comprised of several multi-instrumentalists, Arcade Fire draws upon everything from ethnic roots and indie to form their debut album, ‘Funeral’. Launching off the album, ‘Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)’ is a tad depressing, but the piano keeps it from becoming the mood of a man going off to war. He sounds like he’s crying out in desperation, which is very effective. ‘Neighborhood #2 (Laika)’ is a little creepy and the combination of the accordion and high-pitched violins make it seem like they’ve lost their minds eerily. You can see a slight connection to the other Neighborhood in that they effectively got their message across and it sounds like a clear group effort. It’s a very awkwardly infectious song. ‘Une Année Sans Lumière’ (translating to a year without light) is such a cutesy song. It’s so light, and the French part makes it even cuter! The build to the end is very subtle, and it was just right; not overbearing. ‘Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)’ is my favorite song on the album. Next to ‘Arpan’ from the Concert for George, this is possibly the best arrangement of such diverse instruments I’ve ever heard. The xylophone is beyond catchy, and the part where they go “Is it a dream? Is it a lie?” truly sends shivers down your spine. ‘Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)’ is the lightest and most easy going of the Neighborhoods. It’s a little anticlimactic, but still very pleasant. The use of teakettles gives it a nice home-y effect, as in I can easily imagine sitting in a cottage listening to this song. ‘Crown of Love’ starts out a little on the boring side, but the use of strings gives me an image of what I’d imagine Italy to feel like. The end of the song is by far the best. You can hear the strings slowly building up and then all of a sudden they make the most awkward transition I’ve ever heard in any song, but that transition is to a very upbeat, very infectious section of joy. I can’t stop listening to that segue. ‘Wake Up’ is not your typical sad song. It’s just so freaken beautiful. They say “Someone told me not to cry”, but I did anyway. It’s so trodden with weeping strings, and group vocals that give it a sense of ‘we’re going through this, but as long as we’re together, we can pull through’. It’s so empowering that when they all shout ‘I guess we’ll just have to adjust!’, it unconditionally affects you. ‘Haiti’ is also a little said, but it has a bright tone and a more reflective quality about it. Régine sings so lovely and perfectly about her home Haiti. It affects you, but not quite the same way that ‘Wake Up’ does. ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ too builds up so beautifully. It’s has a similar empowerment, even though the message that the song is giving is that even sleeping is a lie. They all pour their souls into this song, and boy does it translate! The combination of a perfect string arrangement accompanied by shear heart and soul leaves you completely awestruck. ‘In The Backseat’ a really great ending to such an awe-inspiring album. You can really tell Owen Pallett did the strings for this because only in this song do they not sound eerie or creepy. Régine’s voice is haunting, and if it doesn’t strike a chord with you, you are heartless. As a whole, this song sums up perfectly all that the album was. I decided to review this album to see what all the fuss was about, and I had no idea that it hit me like a brick. It’s one of the most empowering albums I’ve heard in a while, and every song is clearly completely unique. It’s so unique that I cannot think of any clear outside influences. From the first chord, to the last note, they put the fun back in funeral.
"I felt like I discovered Montreal... obviously I didn't, but I came and went, holy shit, I never even looked at this place on the fucking map, and there's this great weird city, and it's full of arts and culture, and I was so shocked. A year in Boston, nothing. I come to Montreal, and I had a performing band straight away. It's hard not to think of it as fate that I found myself there."-Win Butler

Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

Recommendations: Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), Wake Up, Haiti, Rebellion (Lies)
Arcade Fire's Official Website
Note: Yes, I know, this one of the best reviewed, most highly praised albums of the decade, but I wanted to see for myself why everyone, even pitchfork, liked it so much, and I wanted to open the door up for discussion about it. I hope you enjoy my review as much as I enjoyed writing it and my next review will probably be Midnight Boom as I promised long ago.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Friday Thing: Mucky Fingers by Oasis

I was watching a one hour special of an airing of 'Oasis Live in Manchester'. This was sincerely the only song I never heard before I watched it that stuck out to me. I caught myself singing 'It's all mine!' days later. This performance destroys the studio recording, it's so lively and just overly fantastic performed here. I hope you enjoy!

Mucky Fingers