Monday, September 29, 2008

Is this a joke song?

Listen folks, I hate to break it to you, but Kings of Leon writes some terrible, terrible lyrics.

Soft lips are open
Them nuckles is pale
Feels like you're dying
You're dying

Your sex is on fire
And so
Were the words to transpire

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! (note: maybe the last lines are "consoled by the words to transpire". I don't know. One way or another, it's pure crap.)

The first time I heard this song on the radio I kept waiting for the punch line. I was sure it was a ridiculous parody of a love song, like Adam Sandler's "At A Medium Pace." A song which, by the way, at least keeps the tempo.

When I realized this "Sex on Fire" track was a real song and had been recorded by Kings of Leon, I went to check my iPod and found that I do have their third album. So I gave it a listen.

Singer Caleb Followill even told the BBC that he thought this "your sex is on fire" hook was "ridiculous" when the band came up with it. "I was like, 'Come on, man, I gotta be singing about someone's fiery sex for a year and a half.'" That album comes out in September 2008.

After listening to "Because of the Times", released last year, I beg to know, then... What happened in the jam session where someone came up with this little ditty?

either way you caught me whlist-a-lyin
you caught me whilst-a-lyin
you caught me with my pants down


so cool in her new camaro
black as coal and it go don't it go

(And repeat.
And repeat again? Dear God make it stop!)

They are a family band... I suppose they all think alike then. Who is driving this crazy bus?

I gave "Because of the Times" an honest listen. I was attracted at first because I heard that southern influence. Track 4, "McFearless", had potential until someone mistimed the vocal track. It honestly sounds like he is the drunk karaoke singer unaware that he should be trying to keep up with the music. But when used properly, his voice is a beautiful blend of Adam Durwitz and Dave Matthews. They use some sick guitar riffs and properly placed tambourines. It then becomes so convoluted, detached, and confusing. Is this a soulful southern rocker or Iggy Pop? Am I supposed to chill and enjoy or shake my head and scream? And just what the hell are they singing about anyway? Do fans actually sing along to these lyrics?

Rock to the rhythm
And bop to the beat of the radio

I must know who these fans are.

I am more scared to hear what is on this next album, "Only by the Night", than I am to accidentally catch another 5 seconds of A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila. I would rather go to the Blue Martini in a jewel-toned minidress than hear any more of this band. Rolling Stone wondered, "how much better can Kings of Leon get?" Yes, it is clear: I have entered an alternate universe. At least that review added "They've already gone further than anyone could have guessed." /cough

I will keep repeating: "Rock and Roll really was saved. Rock and Roll was saved. Rock and Roll was saved." At least they don't sound like anyone else, and I can't snarkily quip that I already heard that album when it was called fillintheblank.

I would normally insert a video here, but do you want to know what else? Kings of Leon are douches.

"It's difficult when you make a new record and you wanna play all the new songs live, but with technology these days, there'll be someone out there with a recorder and it kinda spoils it for us. You don't wanna play too many new songs because otherwise they'll be on YouTube or something, so we have to pick and choose. If it was up to us we'd play all the new songs because they're so fun to play."

So no mp3, no video - embedding of videos is disabled on their YouTube page. So, no thanks, I am not all that interested in posting the others floating around the internet. They can just go on being cool and inaccessible. Douches. Write one decent lyric, just one. I challenge you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bicycles make such sweet music!

This is a little short and sweet post. This is a song I first bought on music download site Stompy, and felt the need to share it with the world. Well, the world that views our site. Which I know is huge!

So this group is called Rubicks. They're an odd group, mostly making pretty kitschy rock cuts. This cut, however, is a very uplifting sort of downtempo track called "Bicycle Boy". It was featured on the weird-house label U-Freqs. If you really wonder why I call it weird house? Well, check out Stompy and just take a listen to some of their stuff. Here's a small sample of Big Hair on the U-Freqs label.

But I digress. So back to the superfantasticalawesomeness of this track. Seriously? One sick track I think everyone here should go grab.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

walk off my drink...

From the blog dated September 23, 2008:
Manchester Orchestra's very own lead singer Andy Hull is proud to announce the release of his second installment in the Right Away, Great Captain! series. For those unaware, Andy took us on an intense and emotionally rattling 15 songs with "The Bitter End" and now his 17th century protagonist has returned. After the crushing blow in losing his captain he has once again lifted his head and this time he is heading home... To Kill His Wife...

Stay tuned: November 11th will see "The Eventually Home" released both digitally and in indie music retail outlets around the country on Favorite Gentlemen Recordings.

I'm planning on reviewing the album fully once it's released...but I couldn't help to tease it.


[Download RA,GC! - Anna No]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Flesh is heretic

I really wanted to like anathallo. It was long ago when they were on "the list" for a scouting trip to Zia Records. Anathallo, Vedera, Paramore, The Format, Ben Kweller (I still have it in written form. It's saved as a memento.) In the years to follow, I would find that many musical artists whom I respected were big fans of anathallo, yet, I still couldn't get into them.

I've found another ensemble-slash-collaboration band, however, that I can get into. It's called The Sound of Animals Fighting. Since 2004, more than a dozen artists from various other established acts have come together - whether physically or by the power of studio engineering - to create music that really paints a beautiful aesthetic.

Each band member takes on the identity of an animal. Although each artist gets proper credit for their position in the ensemble, it's prominent and understood that the band is really made up of the animals. At present, The Sound of Animals Fighting is Nightingale, Walrus, Lynx, and Skunk.

And the intent is to focus on the music. I can't say there is anything catchy about it, but it's good and pure and focused. Their fans are certainly obsessed ardent. Lyrics from the song The Heretic have been tattooed on ribcages, forearms, and feet!

I can enjoy each of the tracks on the third album, The Ocean and The Sun, for different reasons. I'm not going to become an obsessed fan, and teaser videos like the one below that helped to promote this last release are not ever going to cause me to bate my breath, but it's good stuff that I'd like to hear more of.

You can hear elements of those who have contributed to the band over the years: Members of Circa Survive, Chiodos, Atreyu, Rx Bandits, and more. But I think The Swan showcases the most talent and represents the type of music you hear on the rest of the album the best:

I love this idea of taking members from multiple bands and forming "side projects" and collaborations. Everywhere you look, it's being done. It's such an enrichment to our current music climate. What seemed great a couple of years ago just keeps getting better and better, exponentially, in ways never before imagined.

If you're into long tracks, songs that take you on a journey, or just need some really soulful ::ahem:: background music, you're going to want to check out one of these albums.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Maybe you're the one who'll complete me

Bloc Party has a new album out called Intimacy. I think it's fantastic, but I have liked everything this band has put out. It speaks to many parts of me. I love rock. I am a DJ. I like diversity. I like indie bands, too. Bloc Party is probably one of the most popular bands in the indie genre.

Despite their popularity, this new album seems to be getting negative feedback: sounding overproduced to sounding messy and utilizing too many effects.

"Were you hoping for a miracle?"

From a previous version of their website:

"Bloc Party is an autonomous unit of un-extraordinary kids reared on pop culture between the years of 1976 and the present day ..."

Wipe those dirty hands on me... Check out Halo:

[Download Halo]

Is Intimacy cutting edge? Not for Bloc Party. But it is different from their previous albums, Silent Alarm and Weekend in the City, in many ways. Half of this album is dreamy and subtle, with the other half showcasing grinding guitars laced with electronica. No real difference there, until you break down some more subtle elements: It is different from past work in the perspective of songwriting. Okereke had never really written songs about his life and relationships before this album, but as I have said before...heartache makes for amazing songs. 

Intimacy, aptly named, is about Okereke's year long relationship with...well, I couldn't find out. I couldn't find out if it was a male or a female. Much of his life is vague and mysterious. He has compared himself to famous bisexuals (David Bowie and Morrissey) and has discussed the homoerotic story behind the song "I Still Remember" as semi-autobiographical. It doesn't matter. A broken heart is very often the spark that ignites a great piece of work.

And to satisfy the DJ in me, I present you with a remixed version of Mercury:

[Download Mercury (CSS remix)]

Like a relationship, this piece of work is both confident and unsure.
Graceful and clumsy. 

With that, I ask you to gracefully drive to your local music store on October 28th, and confidently pick up this CD.

I've seen this band live, and was very impressed, so if you get the opportunity to see them in your city, make it happen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Sometimes", the fans of James swear they can see your soul!

This is going to be a very short and sweet post. I saw quite possibly the best show out of the probably one hundred or so I've seen in my short lifetime this Monday. Now, you folks probably will go, "Who's James?" I've heard that a lot. They're the guys who sang the song "Laid". You know it. Trust me. The lyrics start off with the following:

"This bed is on fire with passionate love/
The neighbors complain about the noises above/
but she only cums when she's on top."

So that song aside, they have an astounding body of work that most people just don't really realize. The album Laid is a Brian Eno masterpiece. The album starts off with two of my favorite James songs - "Out To Get You" and "Sometimes (Lester Piggott)". Below is the latter.

So, the band finished off their setlist with this song before coming back for their encore. Let me tell you, it was one of the most amazing things I've ever been a part of! I recorded the video of the song being performed, but the crowd there stole the show. You'll need to watch the video to understand what I mean.

Now, if that wasn't the best thing ever, they did something else later on that I've never seen a band do. Especially one that's as well-known as James. The finished with their song "Come Home", and invited a young man by the name of Jonah on stage to play guitar with them. I found Jonah had posted on the fan page of James' on facebook, so I messaged him to ask how that came about. Here's what he wrote (he's in the middle of the photo posted below!):

At Sunday's show, I held up a sign asking Tim if I could come up and play "Come Home" with them. I figured the chances of it happening were pretty much nil, but I also figured there was no harm in asking. Tim read the sign and told me, "Sorry, it isn't on the set list tonight. Will you be here tomorrow? Maybe we can do it then." I figured he was kidding, but then I ran into him on the street after the show and asked him if he was seriously considering letting me come on stage with them. He asked if I could actually play, if I am any good. I told him that yes, I can play. He said, "Okay, I'll talk to the band about it." I still figured the chances of it actually happening were about 1%, and I figured that if I did end up on stage that they would give me an acoustic and maybe not even put a mic on it, just to minimize the chances of me ruining the song if it turned out that I was some imposter who really did not know how to play or I got stage fright. So, when Saul took off his own guitar, handed it to me, and told me to go to it, I was blown away!

So if you all don't know about this band yet? Go buy their albums! They are not a band that disappoints!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I know you're not ready to live

How many band requests do you get on MySpace? Do you pay attention? You should. In my never-to-be-humble opinion, it's one of the most worthwhile reasons to have the social utility. Discovering new music, and keeping tabs on your favorite bands. Well, if you live and breathe music, like I do.

Scanners recently added me as a friend, and within a moment after checking out their page, speaking of breathing music, my lungs rejoiced. It was like hearing the voice that's been inside me all my life. I love it. It's Siouxsie or Aimee or Michelle... I definitely hear Chrissy and even the Pretenders in some of these tracks, and the influence of Tori and her piano makes an appearance as well. I can't help but compare this gorgeous voice belonging to lead singer Sarah Daly to the soulful singers I grew up with.

I'm in love with my digital toy
My joy machine always there to enjoy

"Lowlife" is a song that should be played on the radio... Should be number one with a bullet... The opening chords make me so happy, the angry but clean voice that challenges the actions of a lover... It's brilliance. I love it. Check it out:

When I listen to this album, I imagine I am back in time, I am Chrissy Hynde setting off for London to discover herself within the emerging punk scene. It's a beautiful thing.

Remix EPs for some of these teriffic tracks are available, and they've now recorded a second album, so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meet me after school and I'll beat you like gorilla



I always wanted to start a post with that word. It's a beautiful word! There is a lady at the HQ that hates when I say that word! As soon as the word fuck comes out of my mouth she says, "Fudge."

No. It's fuck. It's a great word. Embrace it.

Ok. Let's move on.

I am desperate to get something good to you. But I got nothing. Well I do. I have some super writing in my head for you. But it's not gonna happen today. I need to let it incubate a little longer. Instead I have a quick story that ties in to a song you can download. We are gonna do this fast so I can get back to the game show "Hole in the Wall". It's a hilarious show. But it will never last more than one season. Catch it while you can!

Ok...c'mon...let's get to this already.

I just got an iPhone. I get shitty reception. Which sucks, because it is a phone after all. But other than that it's one of the coolest devices I have ever laid my greedy hands on. Not only is it an iPod but it's a handheld computing device! The applications for this thing are incredible! Most of them you can download and install for free! One such amazingly free application is called Shazam!

Why is it great? I'll explain:

You got a hot blonde in the car. You throw a mix tape in the ole stereo. The first track is some funky number. You both start shaking your asses in the car seat! Life is good!

Then your worst nightmare! She says, "Who is this?"

Oh oh.

You forgot. How lame. But you were smart enough to install Shazam on your phone! You just have the app listen to the song and the application tells you what the artist and song is!

What was the song?

Bonde do RolĂȘ - Office Boy (Architecture in Helsinki remix)

[Download Track Office Boy (Architecture in Helsinki remix)]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cover me!

Here's something interesting I just heard over the weekend. It was a really cool cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark". If you've somehow never heard the song, don't worry, I'll help fill you in. Most of you, however, probably have heard this song. At this point, most people born the year it came out would be approaching their mid-20's. Which doesn't really make me feel that much better. Hell, my girlfriend was born just two years before this came out. Yes, Father Time is a bastard. If I could pistol whip him, I would. And hard.

Well, that's beside the point. What I found was a very cool cover done by an artist that goes by the name Paper Fist. You can view his MySpace page here. Here's better when you check out the page. He also covers "Venus In Furs"! Don't know that one, either? Then we need to work on this innerweb friendship, pally. I thought I knew you. All kidding aside, anyone that can pull off pretty good covers of both The Boss and the Velvet Underground is quite alright in my book.

So just for a 'blast from the past' sort of moment where we can be embarrassed how white people danced, I give you Springsteen's original. Actually, white people still dance terribly. Myself included. Just endure the pain, though, because you have to admit the song is actually still really fucking good. And does anyone else wonder if the Carlton Banks dance from Fresh Prince of Bel Air was inspired by this video?

Go here for the video. Unfortunately, Bruce won't allow us to embed these.

And below, you'll find the cover of the song done by Paper Fist.

And as always, please support the artists!

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm not scared, But this is happening

Aaron Gillespie is a pretty impressive individual. He has been drumming for the band Underoath since he was fourteen years old, and remains the only member of the band to be featured on every recording. In 2006, he recorded nearly all the instruments for "Southern Weather", the debut album for his side project, The Almost. Many compare Aaron to Dave Grohl, because of the drummer-turned-frontman career path. But Gillespie's achievements to date, nevermind what he will achieve in the future, are on a much different scale.

(Yes, that was a pun. Was it a bad one?)

As a member of Underoath, Gillespie began singing harmonic vocals on 2004's "They're Only Chasing Safety." This was the first album I heard of theirs, and I remember saying they needed to take a lesson in Screamo. I couldn't stand the way it seemed like every lyric was screamed, because I really prefer to hear the growling and screaming in bridges and choruses. Well, I need to get used to it because Underoath isn't Screamo. They've been referred to most often as Deathcore, or Metalcore. And as abrasive and messy as deathcore can sound, Underoath has steadily and handily delivered a cleaner, more precise sound while staying true to their roots all these years.

"Safety", the band's fourth album, was written after the breakup of a very serious relationship for Gillespie, referring to it as if he had ruined someone's life. He felt like he couldn't move on and get married before releasing these feelings, so the album was a matter of great importance to him.
Stop saying that we're invincible
You're uninviting, unrewarding
And I'm misinforming you

From the followup album, "Define the Great Line", the video for "You're Ever So Inviting" won one of MTV's Battle of the Videos in 2007.

"Define" was written from the band's core, was a favorite of all members, and was going to be a very hard act to follow.

On September 2, 2008, Underoath released "Lost in the Sound of Separation". They used two producers, three tracking rooms, four drumkits, and five amps over forty-two days of recording. Technically, it's a masterpiece. And individually, each member contributes an amazing amount of talent to the sound. But I still go back to Aaron and the drums. It's a thing to behold. And I'm curious to know whether he will go back to using the deep kickdrums ("They look cool live, but they don't sound awesome"), rather than the 14- and 16-inch drums he was convinced to use for much of the record ("Cuz that's how they sound good!") , when the band goes on tour this fall with Saosin.

One of my favorite tracks from "Lost" is a bit of a departure from most of their songs, and does remind me of a The Almost product. Regardless, please enjoy "Too Bright To See Too Loud To Hear":

I find it necessary to properly represent the band and the album, however, so for you: Track 3: A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine. (Should have been Track 4. I think it's the best on the disc.)

Are you ready to give some Deathcore a try?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Everybody's deranged...

...and I wonder what happened the day that I fell from the sky.

I am lying on a tiny bed in a small hotel room that I am sharing with my brother in London. I'm reading Anthony Bourdain's book, Kitchen Confidential, when my brother rips out his iPod headphones to exclaim, "The new Faint album is amazing!"

At this point my head is all messed up from jet lag and I just want some peace and quiet, but for all my brother doesn't know... Music is one thing he does know.

It's in his blood. Well, okay, that is stretching it. There are no musicians in our family. But from the moment he could crawl, I was pushing music all over him; giving him tapes and vinyl to hear. Discussing music when he was able to speak intelligently (some would argue he still doesn't speak intelligently...) When I got the job in the music store, and was taking home every free demo from the record labels I could get my hands on, I did my part and shared it all with my lil' bro.

We share many similar tastes in music, obviously. But I will point out that he was on the cutting edge of the emo/screamo movement, so he has shown me a few new things over the years. In fact, since he was the first person to ever say the word screamo, I thought for sure he had invented the name for this genre.

So when he is passionate about some music...I know this is the real deal. It's like an air-raid siren going off!

Granted: I already knew about the Faint. He introduced me to Danse Macabre some time in 2001, and I remember thinking...he's slipping! Well, let me explain...

I have been DJing for about a decade now. The Faint are a dance-punk/new wave/electro band. I was on the cutting edge of electronic music and playing electro style records since the mid 90s, and I mean the original electro was popular in the early 80s, so I felt like this was nothing THAT new or amazing. I already had some records in that same vein that would truly blow his mind.

But Danse Macabre was good! I would listen to it a lot, epecially impressed with the track Glass Danse. It wasn't until maybe a few months ago that I realized there was a remix album for Danse Macabre! Here I found some of my favorite DJs getting in on the remixing! Junior Sanchez, This White Duke, Photek, Tommie Sunshine!

Back to London.

"There is a new album?" I say, eyes peering over my book to the bed on the other side of the room.

"Yeah...August 8th, it's awesome. I can't stop listening to it. I listened to it the whole way here non stop." That was a 9 hour plane ride...and this kid doesn't exaggerate. He continues, "I'll let you borrow my iPod later so you can check it out. But right now I haven't gotten enough of it." He then puts back in his earbuds, and I don't hear a peep from him until he is snoring loudly 2 hours later.

Apparently he never got enough of it. It wasn't until I got back to the States that I even got to listen to the The Faint's new album Fasciinatiion.

And I loved it instantly! It's so damn good. It blows my mind that some kids from Nebraska could come up with something like this! They even broke off from their label and produced this independantly! DIY ethos!

No official remix album in the works yet, but is filled with unofficial remixes of just about everyone's favorite track: The Geeks Were Right. But for you, the original:

[Download The Faint - The Geeks Were Right]

...and my favorite remix so far of this single:

[Download The Faint - The Geeks Were Right (DIOY,Y? Remix)]

so now all you have left to do is buy the album...and you get to sleep well knowing that your money is going to the band and not some bullshit label executive.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Give Me Every Juan Maclean!

Yes, it's a bit late this Wednesday, but I had to wait for YouTube to upload a video I took at the Juan Maclean show this past Monday. Since I have a PC, and PCs blow more than the winds in Chicago, I lost the video for "Happy House". Thing is, my new camera stops recording at 10 minutes, and it wouldn't fit on one video! A wonderful thing, however. All wasn't lost, though. I got the following video. It's of their track "Give Me Every Little Thing". After the video, I have a little more in the way of goodness to give to you all from this very underrated and underappreciated DFA band.

I absolutely love that song, but I have to admit something. Cajmere - aka Green Velvet - made an absolutely ridiculous remix of this. DJs all over just beat that tune to death, and rightfully so. So here you go, boys and girls.

[Download The Juan Maclean - Give Me Every Little Thing (Cajmere Mix)]

Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, I think so, also. They have a lot of cool stuff floating around, so I'd be lame to not tell you folks to go out and check them out. They have a rather recent single out that kicks just as much ass. It's the aforementioned "Happy House", and as a former DJ, I have to say I could squeeze this into a set and drop Full Intention's "(I Love) America" pretty easily right behind that. It's very reminiscent of the days of house when it was coming back up here in the US. You can judge for yourself!

And just to whet your appetite for some more music? Here's that Full Intention cut I just mentioned. An unbelievable and timeless track!

As always, if you enjoy what you hear, please buy it to support the artists!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tired of Being Sexy

They're not new to the scene... And they're not new to music bloggers... But chances are, they're new to you. Don't punish yourself for not running to look up the artist whose song played in that cool iPod Touch commercial. Here's your chance to discover CSS.

This video was actually made for fun by a British kid, not unlike any other youtube video, but found by Apple's ad agency and launched in their campaign, with barely any tweaking done at all. Amazing, huh!

CSS is a crazy, fun-loving, post-riot-grrrrl band (plus one dude) from Brazil. The name is short for Cansei de Ser Sexy, which is Portuguese for Tired of Being Sexy. I love the gung-ho manner in which this group embraces, worships, and sometimes caricaturizes American pop culture in their music, lyrics, stage presence, and not least of all in the selection of the band name (a Beyonce quote.)

The music is very electro, very synth, very 80's. Yet, watch them live and you get to enjoy the hard-rocking guitar-strumming L7 style female hair band fun that everyone seems to have forgotten about. They are crazy. They are nuts. So are their fans. And they are having the time of their lives. In fact, while forming the band, they really just asked themselves who they wanted to hang out with and who they had the most fun drinking with. Playing music you love and getting away with singing some of the most "naughty" lyrics in a foreign tongue, living up to that "just have fun playing crappy [good] music" ideal that Sonic Youth embodied... What could be better than that?

This track, by the way, is not an example of those impish-sounding naughty lyrics, but rather has been pointed out by lead singer Lovefoxxx as one of her favorite songs to perform live. Enjoy Air Painter:

[Download CSS - Air Painter]

CSS is not going to put out a concept album any time soon. In fact, they never intended to be touring the nation and giving interviews. They set out to play, rock, sing, drink, and have fun. And now we all get to experience it. So lighten the heart and put on a stupid outfit and buy one of the CSS albums. And catch them if they hit a festival near you!