Earth Wind and Fire – Let’s Groove (Teen Daze remix)
It’s Friday afternoon, and this is my afternoon bumpup. This gets your eyes open from 55% to 90%. That’s a bigger bump than coffee. Who can deny side chain compression kick drum ? Every song gets to sound like Daft Punk’s One More Time.
Come drink the Mike C sweet tea. Where the powers of Americana and Britannica combine. The word “ambient” in the album name. Spacious tasteful basslines, anthem guitars, vocals a la Verve’s Urban Hymns, urban imagery in the lyrics. Come to the City. Leave the City.
The War on Drugs is a Philadelphia, PA rock band. Originally started by the now famous Kurt Vile along with friend Adam Granduciel. That’s all I know really. But hey, you found a friend.
This summer was faster and greater. I smoked a lot of meat on my Weber charcoal kettle bbq, and now my bloodstream’s creosote levels have increased 800%. Ohhh smoke.
Now this is a song. Well really the first two minutes are really two minutes. Wye Oak is from Baltimore Maryland and is opening for The Decemberists on their North American tour.
E minor G major D minor C major. A heartfelt, longing, slightly atypical female vocal. A Hammond B3 with that Leslie sheen. That’s all you need guys. Because I like putting bands into boxes (bad habit), I hear Blonde Redhead and Beach House.
Finally, I get some agreeance. I really feel the National could very well be one of our biggest and most important bands. Since the release of Boxer, I was hoping. Since the release of newer LPHigh Violet, I was believing. Q readers have called High Violet the album of the year. More here via Neil McCormick and LHB:
I think the National are one of those groups (like REM and Radiohead in their moment) who have stumbled into a zone where the magical confluence between genuinely poetic language and the songcraft of melody, arrangement and performance creates something actually greater than the sum of its parts. The rise of High Violet reminds me of how albums like REM’s Automatic For The People and Radiohead’s The Bends just sort of floated up to the pop surface, with a texture of originality and depth and melodious purposefulness that was all but irresistible to anyone exposed to it, with the result that very left-field arty bands became household favourites.
They did it. Managed to (almost shamefully) sound like every Arts & Crafts cousin and still sound lovely and pretty focused and just different enough. New LP Cloak and Cipher is poppier, more Gibson thicktone aggressive, but also more inclined for well-placed tweeny soundtracks. Plus there’s the pink elephant of the room being the infantile female vocal. I am aware.
Just judging from a handful of new songs, their gloves are getting nice and primed and warm. After a big debut record push, they’ve come back with that good overall buzzy feeling. Plus they like David Foster Wallace and my favourite speech of his. And there’s that “Some are lakes” thing.
Pure summer pop anthem. From their best album, It’s Never Been Like That (2006). I could go on for a long time about this drummer, but I won’t. He is a perfect rock drummer. Unapologetic girly pop hooks, great feels, and the pre-chorus is a perfect pump up for a killer chorus.
Call me out on the college collar rock, but this is a gem. And these guys are super talented. You are sunny, sipping on a mojito and/or a PBR. The cover is perfect, his voice is lullaby teddy bear Paul Simon, the drums are loud and angry. That’s a nice combo.
Going to a show like this is undeniably fun. As Chromewaves said, it was great to see so many different groups of people sweat exactly the same amount. Other than Daft Punk a few years back, this was the only show where so much evaporated sweat was gathering above our heads that the ceiling and ductwork had pure sweat condensation saturated all over the venue. Near the end of the show, it was literally raining sweat. Well more like spitting sweat. From the ceiling. LCD Soundsytem: the shows where 5% of the sweat is yours.
They played some classiques and some solid new offerings from their new record, This is Happening. This is fun, repetitive, backbeat-based music with a scholarly knowledge of rock’s broad history. Simultaneously immature and mature, smart but primal.
This is the album of the season. I find I usually have about 4 albums per year that really do it. I just wish The National released this new record during the proper sound-season schedule. You know. Marley in the summer, Nick Drake in the fall, the music just feels like weather. Most bands I listen to have a justifiable time of year attached to their sound. This record is a November record, their old single does not kid around.
I am a bona fide National enthusiast. First and favourite album was Boxer . Most purists prefer Alligator . Usually first = favourite, because you feel so rewarded for hacking through jungles of monotoned, minimalist melody for at least a few listens. Then one walks the worn path to working through it until one song clicks into place. Then another song three days later. And so it goes. Like a slowly exposed 3D Magic Eye puzzle.
I’m lucky I get to see them next week, here. This record was made for that space. Here’s “Lemonworld”, the clear first song that clicked into place for me this time around. The great thing about new National records is that once you’ve tackled previous LPs, the learning curve can be virtually instant for the new ones.
The National - Lemonworld
Clear nods to Bruce Springsteen ballads, R.E.M. romanticism, NY darkness, and proof that the simplest of melodies can feel revelatory, honest, and refined. It’s pop music with a very special voice and pretty things to say. It’s a staid move away from irony. It’s that wise nag on your shoulder that encourages you to pull a song back rather than force it higher. That gets me excited.
Victoria Legrand – listen to this woman, watch this woman, she’s special. This is woman. This is her band. And you can’t help but think brunette Stevie Nicks. Sorry, it’s easy, it needs to be said. Or you could just use the word huuusky [onomatopoeia]. Even the falsetto’s got some husk. She has a true gift in colour and tone, and quite good with melody. She even directed this video. Just don’t judge too much, when was the last time you saw a great music video?
Sure it’s Canadian Jeff Buckley/Radiohead, but this song is sweetballs. Brooding subtle backing cellos and a supertypical intro lead guitar part begins. Breathy yearning voices, simple melody, and then comes the bum kicking part – the creamy timing transitions between 4/4 and 3/4 throughout the song. It throws you at first, even slightly disorienting. But after three listens, once you catch the groove, it’s like lazily swinging on a long, green, Tarzanic vine. Tarzanic!
What gets me dizzy is mostly just the first verse – darkened piano quaternote chords, amazing vocal character, and the big tonal contrast in the drums. You hear the big low boom of the kick drum, perfect snare rolls, and a beautiful bright tambourine. That’s some jaaangle. Mr. Bojaaangles! When you get the widest spectrum of frequencies in a drum track, that spells BIG. What’s great about this drummer’s performance is his use of big but also in his rests. So much space between notes, it’s perfect. Then the chorus – to me I get a bit excited, because this chorus sounds like the boys, and I like that. Driving, understated, killer drum/bass part.
Patrick Watson is the shoegazing darling of the Canadian indie criticism circle. 2 Polaris nominations, one win, yet not a lot of household recognition. I’m personally OK with that. Of the two albums I’ve checked out, I can count the good tracks on half a hand. He can’t seem to get out of the breathy vibrato, the no-treble grand piano, and the mediocre melancholy. But he’s got this one.