Seven songs

April 12, 2008

Some predictable stuff here, lots of heavy hitters, so sue me. Finals prep has taken over my music seeking recently, so feel free to pick up the slack.

1. Raveonettes – Dead Sound: It’s loud and hazy and (gosh, can I go a blog post about music without working a MBV reference) …. um… sort of like the Radio Dept! (nice save) with female vocals instead of JAMC vocals — so it’s like Yo La Tengo without live drums and Ira Kaplan? — if Radio Dept. could rock as hard as, say, Yo La Tengo on “Cherry Chapstick,” and if they threw in little key parts that sounded like “Sunday Morning” by the Velvet Underground in their pre-choruses. Well, I just namedropped every noise band this side of Sonic Youth (this being the melodic side); um, you’ll wanna throw on your dark-rimmed glasses to listen, but no one’s looking, so it’s okay.

2. M83 – Kim & Jessie: “Hi, we’re M83 and we kidnapped Tears for Fears, stole the Delorean, and haha now it’s 2008 and they’re locked in our basement writing our songs.” The guitar riff in the closing seconds is the single best moment of this otherwise lackluster third M83 album titled Saturdays = Youth, that despite its obvious flaws and ridiculous narration, I keep listening to over and over. Color me officially obsessed with anything that sounds big and lush, no  matter how bad it may be.

3. The Evangelicals – Skeleton Man: This is an oldie in the blogland, but whatever, still a good jam. Sort of reminds me of what Clap Your Hands Say Yeah could’ve been if they would’ve gotten weird but not also bad at the same time. In an indie rock universe that seems to be getting weird for weird’s sake, it’s nice to hear of a band who can ape the standards (e.g., Pavement, some others), throw a bunch of weird ghost wailing on top, and still be compelling to those of us not on acid / trying to make friends in Williamsburg / doing lame shit like going to law school.

4. The Notwist – Gloomy Planets: Probably the only song on the pretty damn boring new release The Devil, You + Me, this is a slow-builder, going from simple guitar strumming and random indie keys to a pretty effective crescendo of … guitar strumming and random indie keys (and drums). These guys had a knack for nailing some pretty great chord progressions, with “One With the Freaks” being their best, and this is no exception; it is probably the only thing on the album that comes close to the level they were working on with Neon Golden.

5. White Denim – ShakeShakeShake: So we’ve got lots of “Black” bands, so the time is nigh for more “White” bands (besides the Stripes & Rabbits). This is a dumb, sloppy little song, with little-to-no structure, and just a lot of noisy bass, straightforward drumming, cowbell, etc. Really it sounds like the Who without singing, shredding, or Keith Moon, and I’m sure these guys fancy themselves a “garage rock” band. But when the band comes in and screams shit every now and then it gets pretty cool. And it’s put the word “dummy” back into my daily lexicon.

6. The Dodos – Fools: I hate freak folk, but this really isn’t freak folk even though I think it’s easy to make the association. Really, this is a Rogue Wave song at its core. It’s interesting enough to be too-easy-to-digest — see: its weird percussion, random yelling, and noisy guitar interludes — however, this is really good acoustic indiepop dressed up in the Animal Collective’s fat clothes. A great spring song: this one really killed as I walked around campus the other day on the first warm day, taking in the egregiously short shorts.

7. Cut Copy – Out There on the Ice: Well, here’s one of the best songs off what’s likely the best album of the year. Ugh, is the best album of the year really an electronic album? But anyway. Nothing to complain about here — this one is pretty enjoyment from start to finish. This is gay as shit, but it hits all the right chords: it’s not sing-along, it’s a little sad, but you can still dance to it. It really starts cooking at about 3:15, when it all comes together, the strings are washing over the beat, the drums pick up steam and the real hook comes in: “If that’s what it takes / then don’t let it tear us apart / even if it breaks you heart.” And, thus, the question must be asked: Can you cry on the dance floor of a gay bar?


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