Monday, July 25, 2011

Braids, Herman Dune, Babies

Braids – Native Speaker (5)
Dream pop trend continues with Braids’ strong nine-song “Native Speaker”. But where other bands veer towards the organlike synthesizers Braids turned the other way into Animal Collective-like repetitions and rhythms. Layers of sound and vocals, sometimes with foul yet fitting lyrics. This album is one of the finest and most exciting to come out of Canada this year. This could turn out to be one of those albums I will be playing for a long time after the first spin.

Herman Dune – Strange Moosic (3)
This French band’s music isn’t as strange as the title might suggest. It is pretty much your average acoustic folk-pop songs. They are obviously strong songwriters as the opening song “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” makes us know. I can’t get rid of the idea however that I am listen to BruceSpringsteen’s discarded B-sides from the 80s but stripped down. The lyrics are interesting story songs but the trick wears out, especially when it’s sung in such a nasally flat voice. Singing in English from a French band and furry animals aside, we are seeing through the trick now.

The Babies (4)
Woods’ indie melodies meet Vivian Girls’ fuzz in this collaboration of Kevin Morby of the former and Cassie Ramone of the latter. The Babies’ first record truly is a mix of both bands; 60’s sped-up harmonies sung in a Titus Andronicus style over Sonic Youth Daydream Nation and Experimental Jetset chord changes. Kevin and Cassie are ‘Partners in Crime’ in this interesting side-project that never reaches the level of the parent bands, but is still worth a few spins.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

3 More Revies: Dodos - Parts and Labor - Head and the Heart

The Dodos – No Color
The Dodos’ new album is just nine songs long, perhaps a result of the slightly disappointing previous album. Fortunately the good elements have remained: the strange time signatures and the percussion like strumming of Meric Long. Opener and single “Black Night” is a good example of the newer, louder style. Long’s singing is still mediocre at best bur the vocal melodies make up for a lot. They were also helped this time by Neko Case who lends here remarkable vocal talent to a few of the songs, lifting them up and giving a nice extra color. Songs that are already dominated by some great hooks, making you remember at least part of the song after only a few plays.
The new sound doesn’t always work live, where they can become too loud. It works on this album: The Dodos are back on track.

Parts and Labor – Constant Future
I first heard of Parts and Labor when they opened for Battles. Their musical style fits into the mathrocking experimental mold. Off-kilter drumming supported by guitar noise and pointy keyboard sounds. But this New York band gained some pop sensibility making their songs more transparent. They are not the next Hootie, but it has that Butthole Surfers vibe that makes it fun to listen to. Weakness remains the singing, which isn’t helped by the at times poor vocal lines. The music is powerful and exciting. This should be an able that will lead to more fans.

The Head and the Heart
Sub Pop has unearthed another gem right in their backyard. Seattle’s The Head And The Heart debut album came out in april and is yet another fine folk rock album on the label. The link with Fleet Foxes is easily made. The don’t quite reach the level of musical and lyrical strength but the multiple vocals contrast each other well. The high tones of the piano add a happy flavor.
Some of the premier folk bands of today can be heard: the aforementioned Fleet Foxes, the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons sans the terrific singing. But where these bands blend old time folk with their own 21st century interpretation of the genre, the Head and the Heart bring us nothing new. Every song is well written and performed but everytime I couldn’t help imagining it being performed by one of those three bands. And it always sounded better in my imagination. But even without any originality the album still stands out as one of the nicer ones of the year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

15 New Songs

Been a while, but here are 15 new songs we think you should listen to.

Paulusma - Back Of Your Car
Daryll-Ann might be gone but the singers keep producing remarkable new songs. A grayer Paulusma performs this beautiful song for Dutch National

Deerhunter - Memory Boy
psychedelic keyboards dominate in a song that could easily have been written and performed by the Zombies.

The Zombies - Breathe Out, Breathe In
While we are on the subject of The Zombies, they are back with a new record that retains some of the harmonies and sound of the majestic Odessey and Oracle.

Bon Iver - Calgary
Nightmare/dream video accompanying the first Bon Iver single of the new record.

The Dears - Blood
The new album Degeneration Street is a Tour de Force with the stress on force, an album with 'too many notes'. Blood is the exception.

Two Wounded Birds - All We Wanna Do
Wonderful sub 2 minute punkpop song. Lot of beach songs these days

Two Door Cinema Club - This Is The Life
Starting to like the sound of this band more and more, and apparently it also works live.

The Boxer Rebellion - The Runner
Somehow i doubt this video will played a lot on day time tv... They got oscar nominated directors to make the video and it shows.

Broken Records - The Motorcycle Boy Reigns
Hysterical? Nah, just emotional.

The Galacticos - Aunt Mary
Belgium's favorite youngsters strike again. funny video full of costume and scenery changes.

Fucked Up - The Other Show
Some 14yr olds with new electric guitars are trying to play the opening riff.

Birdy - Skinny Love
Doesn't reach the Bon Iver original, but we can only admire youngsters listening to great music and trying to recreate it.

Anthony David - God Said
Brilliant protest song about the absurdity of religious figures.

Young The Giant - My Body
Another great single from these guys. Let us all jump around in the heather.

Aux Raus - Oh No It's Them
Yes, you heard right, that's gabberindie.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Antlers - Burst Apart

The Antlers’ first connection with a larger audience, “Hospice” was a an album so haunting and moving that it has remained in high rotation on my iPod. A beautiful concept album about a dying cancer patient and the man who takes care of her made The Antlers a new name to be reckoned with, especially after some powerful live shows where they were able to get an entire crowd dead silent. One thing that came out of these shows and the news songs they played was that the new album could never be as dark as “Hospice”. “Burst Apart” sounds at first listen less dark, but hasn’t changed my perception of The Antlers in the least.

Ok, a title like ‘I Don’t Want Love’ doesn’t particularly sound upbeat. Peter Silberman’ falsetto voice is however much more clear and stretched and really shows the big steps they made into a much more professional band.

The keyboards are a little more 80ish and the drums slightly muffled but still the songs make you listen intensely so you cannot but get overwhelmed and get in a trance induced by the layers of keyboards, guitars and Silberman’s hovering high voice. A good example of this is the dubby ‘Parantheses’ or the hypnothic ‘Rolled Together’.

“Burst Apart” has less layers of sound than “Hospice”, it has less to hide. The final two songs are for Antlers standards quite clear. The overall quality of the songs remains high but never reaches the heights of “Hospice”. But this wasn’t to be suspected and cannot be a blemish on the Antler’s body of work, if anything they show they remain a quality indie band who will give us much more unique stuff.