Saturday, 11 September 2010

'twas a dinosaur act

Post-rock, overall, is pretty okay, I guess. Some people can sit in their own filth and misery while listening to dreamy whispers over ominous static, others can't. I fall into the latter. The fuel to depressing music, in my opinion, needs a little more substance. That's why I can sit in my own filth and misery to Red House Painters much better than, say, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Despite my little schpiel on post-rock, I rediscovered Things We Lost in the Fire by Low recently, and I really enjoy it. I'm a sucker for female and male vocals combined, so maybe that's what's doing the trick. I still can't see the appeal of Justin Bieber, though.


It's funny because he's a man-lady. Haha. Anyways, Low's whispery-soft female delivery with the solid-yet-light tone of the male's really hooks me in, along with the chimes and acoustic guitar. It's so soothing that they can ask "What is a whore?" (in the aptly-named track 'Whore') and make it sound gospelesque. The lack of synth is also very refreshing from what I've been listening to lately. I think minimalism that can still express heavy anger or sadness is miles more advanced than "LOL WE ADD SYNTH AND SING ABOUT MY HEART EXCEPT IT'S A TICKING CLOCK WAITING 4 U." 'Like a Forest' portrays the former experience. Low really does a good job of crafting a unique experience that feels uneasy yet melancholic.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

where's my sex!?

Folks, it's time we accepted the fact that there will never be another Pinkerton. I realize a lot of you accepted this a while ago, but I think that, even if Cuomo consciously decided to emulate Pinkerton, it would just sound like a 40 year-old trying to make another confessional, you know? With that kept in mind, Hurley is pretty not-that-bad. Maybe, perhaps, good? Now, I'm aware that Rivers Cuomo could be riding in his solid-gold jetpack right now laughing as he chews on his solid-gold cigar thinking "Those plebeians actually like that shit!" I mean, this is the man who referred to his fans as "little bitches" back in 2002(ish). In his defense though, it would be pretty annoying if your fans kept on requesting you to go back to your old sounds instead of treading new grounds. Then again, "old sounds" kind of meant "actually good." *pause for laughter and cheering* But I digress. Hurley goes back to the power-pop sound of 1994's Blue Album but pumps up the "power." Track one, 'Memories,' starts with a cheesy intro, but then it's followed by a wall of sound. By the time you're questioning whether this is an Arcade Fire-good "wall of sound" or Nickelback-shit "wall of sound," the catchy synth kicks in and it doesn't really matter. So far this is definitely better than a rap-rendition of 'Can't Stop Partying' (I'm still sore over that.) The rest of the album is kind of samey, but it's an okay kind of samey. One of the more memorable moments in Hurley is the song 'Where's My Sex?,' a title that I find genuinely funny. That kind of ridiculousness is classic Weezer, in my opinion. I find that Weezer is trying a little too hard to be edgy though, proven by the fact that this is the first album to be released on an indie label (Epitaph.) Overall, Hurley is an enjoyable (if cheesy) throwback to power-pop, and a positive look into the future. I wouldn't find myself relistening to it on a roughly tri-yearly basis as I do with 2008's Red Album, but it's a step up from my "never-relistening to" basis of Raditude. Just ignore the bonus tracks, unless you want to hear a cover of a Coldplay song (that's great and all, but why bother covering something from 2008?)

In related news, Weezer has announced that Pinkerton is going to be reissued on November 4, along with a collection of out-takes from Blue to Raditude that have, to my knowledge, been rerecorded (it's entitled- I shit you not -Death to False Metal). In a Rolling Stone interview, Rivers Cuomo also stated that he started working on the next Weezer album "this morning," which I assume was sometime in late August.

Oh, and there's a Blue/Pinkerton tour in the works. Just a heads-up.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

u r the ocean

I was reading Spin (the U.S. equivalent of NME) recently and, much to my surprise, Phantogram was featured on their summer mix-tape. I downloaded their debut album Eyelid Movies a few months back, so I decided to give them another go. It's very chilled trip-hop that switches from male to female vocals on a track-to-track basis, but to be honest I prefer the female vocals. Almost every melody is super-catchy, and if you aren't humming along to it you're probably sleeping, which is something Eyelid Movies is pretty good for if you're in the mood (though I wouldn't call it ambient). The synth is nice and distorted, while the drum beats are comfortably familiar. Oh, and is that some electric guitar? It meshes together well and creates a spacey atmosphere that hipsters crave.

So kiddos, you heard it here first: Phantogram is the next Crystal Castles [EDIT: Except it's good]. Hop trends before it's too late!

Monday, 6 September 2010

i want...to be...abraham lincoln, embarassingly tall!...

My knowledge of bands that have an animal in the name is...above average? I don't know about that, but I do know that oh my god elephant is on of my favorite one-shot bands. They released their first (and only) EP in 2007, but they never caught on the way, say, Algernon Cadwallader did. It's a shame too, because oh my god elephant is the greatest emo/math-rock fusion this side of Snowing has seen. All five tracks are complex melodramatic tunes being primitively shouted over, and I like that contrast. The occasional back-up vocals and stingy synth really set the mood. The odd acoustic jams also add to the overall variety, while the drumming is consistently amazing. omg elephant later changed their name to Rainbow Tornadoes and released a full-length LP, but, sadly, it was surprisingly lackluster. Still, with these five quality tracks, oh my god elephant can last you forever.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Speakers speakin' speakin' speakin' speakin' in code

You know how some albums are just okay on the first play, but when you relisten to them they give you a total hard-on? That's the case with me and Summerteeth. It went from "okay," to "good," to "awesome," to "orgasmic." I actually enjoy it more than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Coming out three years prior, Summerteeth definitely has more pop sensibilities than its successor, and I really enjoy Wilco's pop side. Jeff Tweedy's stream-of-consciousness lyricism shines on She's A Jar (which might just be the greatest song ever), while other songs have cohesive themes (How to Fight Loneliness, A Shot In the Arm, We're Just Friends, et al.) Pieholden Suite is a personal favorite of mine, mainly because the first half is very melodramatic, while the second half is a cheery instrumental that sounds like something out of a Harvest Moon video game. Summer Teeth and ELT do a splendid job of show-casing Wilco's alt. country roots from Being There (and Uncle Tupelo, Tweedy's former band), but, in the same vein as the rest of album, in a much poppier sound. With autumn creeping in on us, it's the perfect time to give Summerteeth a spin.