Monday, May 30, 2011

Explorer 15, May 30th

Vacation time so it took me a little longer than usual, but here are 15 new songs

Young The Giant - Apartment
Music: Well manufactured indie rock
Video: Band playing in a cozy environment

Little Red - All Mine
Music: Getting a little too Coldplay-y at times, but another fine Ozzie band.
Video: Skateboarding lonely through the streets of Melbourne

San Cisco - Golden Revolver
Music: Reverb on high, you gotta love Australia
Video: Old home movies

British India - March Into The Ocean
Music: Heavier Stuff, anthem?, third Oz band on the list
Video: Guys on speed playing scrabble

Fleet Foxes - Grown Ocean
Music: Fleet Foxes
Video: Road movie

Deep Sea Arcade - Lonely In Your Arms
Music: They made the list before with the Zombies like Don't You Worry, similar style but more modern
Video: Don't adjust your television set.

Husky - History's Door
Music: Australia's Fleet Foxes?
Video: Band playing

Last Dinosaurs - Time & Place
Music: Really, I can't help so many Australian bands made the list, and yes 2:48 is a brilliant break
Video: Guys in nature.

Two Door Cinema Club - What You Know
Music: Starts very Darwin Deezy
Video: Young guys and gymnasts

Maps & Atlases - Living Decorations
Music: Old video, but the music is too good not to share
Video: Fake band playing

Herman Dune - Tell Me Something I Don't Know
Music: Vintage Herman
Video: By far the coolest video of today, also great that it's on Funnyordie, hitchhiking with a yeti! And yes, that's Jon Hamm.

Joy Formidable - Whirring
Music: Melodic noise is possible
Video: Let's move into a strange house

Beastie Boys - Make Some Noisehttp:
Music: Beastie Boys
Video: A legendary video already: Seth Rogan, Danny McBride and Frodo playing the Beasties, can you count the celebs?

The King Blues - Set The World On Fire
Music: Skarockpoprappunkpolitical
Video: Band playing and other stuff

The National - Think You Can Wait
Music: if you don't know the National there's something wrong with you
Video: For a movie, with funny bits

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quarterlife Crisis

Around the age of 25 men start to look at their life and start wondering where they stand. Comparisons come with other people of their age and with their parents at that age. Children, work, still studying, it’s all different but you can’t help comparing. Robin Pecknold is like all of us, realizing in the first line of the new album “Helplessness Blues” that his parents already had a kid. He is just back with his girlfriend and finally released the long awaited follow-up to the eponymous debut.

The beautiful title track explains a lot of his thinking of his place in the world, as a ‘cog’. A song with questions that everyone has at one point in their life. Who am I and what is that world outside really like. Realization comes in ‘Lorelai’: “so, guess I got old, I was like trash on the sidewalk”. “Helplessness Blues” is an album with more questions than clearcut answers, or as Pecknold sings in ‘Blue Spotted Tail’: “Why is life made only for to end?”.

Musically the album gives us nothing new. Expanding on the sound of the debut along the lines of all the great westcoast folkies from the 60’s and 70’s: Byrds, Beach Boys (the opening bars of ‘Lorelai’, Neil Young etc. The focus is on his vocals, harmony background vocals and acoustic instruments. While lacking the radio “hits” it features some future classics in “Battery Kinzie”, the title track and “Someone You’d Amire” which should be able to silence a crowd of 80.000. The sound worked on the first one, it does so again on the second.

The real strides have been taken in Pecknold’s songwriting. “Helplessness Blues” is a much more personal and mature record that for people in the same age group might be at times confronting but also rewarding. So I wasn’t alone when I thought those things that spun around in my head.

I was still mucking about at university at the age Pecknold and his Fleet Foxes made an impressive second album. Best album of 2011 so far. It’s been worth the wait and questions.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

Britain always seem to give birth to a few new exiting new bands every year. The Vaccines are the next in the list with their fun and short album “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?”. Did we expect a 1:22 rolling song? Well I didn’t but it’s a great start to the album that is full of youthful energy.
The album is full of relatively easy songs with incredibly catchy sing-along choruses in double choruses reminiscent of the Fratellis. Most of their influences seem to lie in New York however. The Ramones and sixties Brill Building give a fresh vibe that’s hard to miss. The Ramones of the 21st century The Strokes aren’t missed either in the suave ‘A Lack of Understanding”. That’s it’s not just punk and post-punk is clear in the fragile ‘Wetsuit’ with it’s thumping drums and vocal lines could be a Vampire Weekend song.
This is a fine debut, fun, fresh and short. Don’t expect anything new but if you want a happy 30 minutes in your life this album is for you.