March 25, 2009

The Return of the Music Video

While I guess music videos never went away, they're not something to which I usually pay particular attention. Until today. While not all of the following are music videos, they are all videos that contain music, so work with me.

First up we have Department of Eagles with their video for "No One Does It Like You." While this album and single were both released last year, the video received it's premiere last night at MoMA where the band also played a short live set.

The next video is also from a song that is not new. In fact, "Take Pills" by Panda Bear was released off of Person Pitch back in 2007. Not too sure why the video is just coming out now, especially since Panda Bear has only been active in Animal Collective recently and doesn't even have a solo show scheduled until September. But hey, I'm not one to complain about anything this guy puts out so if he wants to release videos at random, please be my guess.

Here is where I start to get a little off topic. Last week was SXSW in Austin, Texas and from what I've read one of the best sets of the week came from the guys in Grizzly Bear. Despite the fact that a low quality of their forth coming album has been circulating the web, "Two Weeks" has been a staple in my recent playlist. Even before the leak, the live version of the song was helping the cause that this was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Anyway the guys performed the song last week, however it was the first time the song was played with guest vocalist Victoria Legrand. You may know her as the singer of Beach House.

Finally. This is not really music related, but today the first trailer for Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are" was released today and it is soundtracked by noneother then Arcade Fire. Yes it seems as thought the band has recorded a somewhat acoustic version of their song "Wake Up" for the release of the film. Words cannot really express how excited I am for this film.

March 18, 2009

"This Song is Organic, It Contains No High Fructose Corn Syrup"**

This semester I have been taking a course entitled Edible Ideologies. We have focused largely on the way food is produced and consumed in our culture and both the positive and negative aspects. After viewing the documentary "King Corn" for class I have been greatly concerned with my intake of High Fructose Corn Syrup mainly due to the large health risks that occur with its consumption. I have notorious in my life for my soda intake and other beverages of the like. Among Coca-Cola, Snapple was a big part of my liquid consumption. However this semester I have undergone a huge effort to greatly reduce my HFCS intake as much as possible. This is not as easy as I thought since the stuff is in almost everything. However, while I was out this past weekend I looked at a beverage selection and noticed a new look to the traditional Snapple. While Snapple has always claimed to be all natural, the new label that also advertised the fact that it was made from green and black tea leaves, caught my attention. I looked closer at the bottle and the ingredients, as I have found myself doing more often, and noticed that HFCS had been replaced in fact by actual sugar. Much to my amazement I purchased a bottle and went home to do some research. While the snapple website still lists HFCS as an ingredient, I did stumble upon a New York Times article that highlighted the new direction in which Snapple was heading. Indeed, not only has Snapple revamped their outdated look, but they are now producing drinks made with actual sugar and not this chemical substitue. How refreshing! Snapple can once again be not only the official beverage of New York City, but mine as well.

*photo courtesy of The New York Times
** Conor Oberst at Radio City Music Hall November 19th, 2007

March 15, 2009

Whatever Happened to the Modern Age?

When I had the idea of moving to New York I wanted to do it for the stories. New York was supposed to be such a cool place where anything and everything could happen. In 2001 The Strokes released "Is This It?" and my world changed. I was in eighth grade and knew that New York was where I wanted to go. The classic image of the Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Television, Blondie and the rest of the CBGB's scene was reeling me in faster by the moment. Rock and Roll music was back in a new form and this era was about to be reborn. That was the year of rock. The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Hives, and the Vines were all ushering in the new sound of garage rock and it was going to save music.
Well that was 2001 and a lot has changed. The Vines dissappeared after that first album. The Hives released Tyranosaurus Hives which I still enjoyed, but they lost momentum from there. Despite what anyone says Room on Fire was still a great record, but by the time First Impressions of Earth came around the Strokes and pretty much lost their magic to me. They were badass dudes from Manhattan who wrote great songs and looked ultracool while doing it. Now it has been three years and while they state that a new album is in the works, I fear that it will not bring the same energy as their first two. I am hoping to death this is not true. Finally there is Jack White. Perhaps the decades lone rockstar. The White Stripes, while never reaching the excellence of White Blood Cells and Elephant, have continued to make good music. They bring the rock and do it with style. Jack White has the swagger and style that make a great musician. He produces new material at a rate most just dream about achieveing. In fact the man has so much he needed a sideproject, The Racontuers, to display his talent.
Aside from the lack of rock, New York has spiraled as well. CBGB's closed it's doors and John fucking Varvatos moved in. The Bowery was once a place where the ordinary man would not go after dark. It was a place where you had to watch your back. Now it has designer shopping. New York has lost it's edge. A new decade is almost upon us and we need a revitalization. I agree a safer city is best and New York is still the best place to live, I'm just asking for the spark to make it alive.

March 1, 2009

Tokyo Police Club played Webster Hall

Not too long ago Tokyo Police Club released an EP that gave them some attention in the indie world. They gained some popularity, opened for Bloc Party and even signed to the awesome Saddle Creek. Their release "A Lesson in Crime" had some highlights and poppy riffs but nothing too groundbreaking and their show was just the same. Born Ruffians started the night off with some swift beats that kept the crowd bouncing and their unique voices gave an uplifting start to the evening. When Tokyo Police Club took the stage the crowd seemed to explode with an energy not quite reciprocated by the band or even their tunes. These guys definitely appeared to be real crowd pleasers but nothing quite to my taste. However the highlight of the evening came at the encore. During the second song TPC invited Born Ruffians back to the stage to world premeire a song that they co-wrote severl days earlier. Yet something more exciting came next. To add to the stage prescene, opening act Harlem Shakes came out to help cover the Clash's epic end to their flawless album London Calling. While the whole evening was somewhat lackluster, it is hard to walk away dissappointed when the Clash are given tribute.

*video and more photos at Brooklyn Vegan