September 29, 2009

Fever Ray played Webster Hall

(photo from Stereogum)

Fever Ray's self titled debut album is the most haunting album of the past year, and perhaps the past decade. The eerie sounds highly resemble that of Karin Andersson's first project, The Knife, and of course her vocals are unlike anything else in music today. The only downside to the record is that it seems to plateau, very highly, with the first track. It never climaxes and leaves you wanting a little something more. The show personified the record to the fullest extent and in places where you are left wanting more, the live performance filled in the blanks. The show was dark. The opening pounding of "If I Had A Heart" was accompanied with smoke and two thin laser beams that eventually opened up when the experience commenced. From that moment the crowd was hypnotized. The live band was dressed in nightmarish costumes and danced in a daze. When Karin appeared she was donned in a headdress that resembles something I wish to see in "Where The Wild Things Are." The entire show was a spectacle that was totally embraced by the music. Everything was back-lit, there was constant smoke, there were lamps that looked like they were straight from grandma's house, and there were green lasers protruding the hall and cutting through the smoke like... well a knife. While there were few glimpses of Karin's actual face, which did have some make-up, the show added to the mystery effect that is Fever Ray. You never really know what is happening. You see the body onstage the band playing live, but there is still that longing to see everything that is making this sonic pleasure. For once, Webster Hall had a great sound show. The prerecorded tracking was killer and the bass was loud. Her vocals were a little weak at times, but overall the sonic aura was amazing. Fever Ray is a mystique. There is mystery shrouded in that dark dissonant ambient texture. It captivates and takes hold of the listener and even more impressively is that it delivers better live then on record. When everyone vanished into the darkness and the lasers disappeared the house lights came on and the trance ended. For an hour it seemed as if we entered a dream and lost sense of what else was happening and then we came down shook our heads and tried to transcribe what had just happened.

Setlist (via The Music Slut)
If I Had A Heart
Triangle Walks
Concrete Walls
I’m Not Done
Now’s The Only Time I Know
Keep The Streets Empty
Dry & Dusty
Stranger Than Kindness
When I Grow Up
Here Before

September 26, 2009

Japandroids Played Mercury Lounge

Thursday had been a long day by the time 11:00 rolled around and I was in need of some energy. I got to the Mercury Lounge just in time to catch the end of Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, so I grabbed some beer and waited for the Vancouver duo to take the stage. A little after 11:00 the guys came on stage plugged in and began to power away at their loud fuzzy guitar and palpitating drum sound. It was the night before their friend's wedding so they were in an extra special mood. They turned the shoegaze guitar sounds way up and Brian danced around the stage creating great energy that flowed right into the crowd. From the opening chords of "Heart Sweats" the crowd was swaying and eventually the full on rock was delivered. It has been a while since I've been to a show where not only the crowd was having a good time, but based on the actions of the band I think it is fair to say that these two guys really seem to enjoy what they are doing. They played with such passion and had everyone screaming along to "I don't want to worry about dying/I just want to worry about those sunshine girls" that you would think these guys have been stressed about this problem for twenty years. The club nature of the show was also an intricate part of the performance as it felt like these were two guys who just genuinely enjoy rocking out for their friends.

September 18, 2009

"New" My Bloody Valentine

So I guess at some point over the summer songs surfaced that were recorded by the legendary My Bloody Valentine sometime before their break up in the 90's. Sorry for the late discovery, but I was in China when this all went down and better late then never correct? Anyway there has been no new material since the masterpiece Loveless came out in 1991 and Kevin keeps saying more records are on the way, but there has been no actual evidence of this until now. While they are not up to the caliber of Loveless they are classic My Bloody Valentine sound none the less. No word on whether these are the legit names but they've been circulating the Coachella and My Bloody Valentine message boards under these aliases. Some home made artwork and mp3s below.

September 9, 2009

Revolution 09/09/09

It comes as no surprise that a Beatles review would appear on this blog as well as everywhere else on the internet today. It has been about 40 years since the Beatles split and the world still has yet to get over it. Today the entire catalog is being reissued and The Beatles: Rock Band is also being released. So why exactly is all of this so relevant? Well in a time when people don't buy music any more it is hard to imagine a time when a band changed the world. Yet it is even harder to imagine that nearly four decades after the band's demise the world is still changing. The Beatles are impossible to escape. A day like today may make that more clear then ever when everyone from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, CNN, and Pitchfork are all talking about and reviewing the classic albums, but really it is nothing new. Today just happens to be a day when all the attention is making headlines. When the Beatles Anthologies were released in the 90's the song "Free As a Bird" was released as the first new Beatles song in twenty-five years and it won a grammy. In 2008, Abbey Road was the second best selling vinyl album of the year. 39 years after is was released. The Beatles 1 is the best selling album of the decade. The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas is home the the Cirque Du Soleil show Love which is inspired entirely by the Fab Four. Entertainment Weekly claims "Forty-five years after this single hit the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, it's still nearly impossible to get any two people to agree on what chord that famous opening clang! actually is." The Paul is dead rumors circulated long before the help of the internet. How many bands inspired a whole generation of hair styles? And correct me if I'm wrong, but can anyone name another band to have all five of the top songs on Billboard at once? Nearly everywhere you look the Beatles literally are here, there, and everywhere. I know everyone regards the band as the most important in the history of music, but it is still impressive that they are still as big as ever. Jesus is getting tired in their shadow. Yet to me the most impressive aspect of the band is not that they are still legends after all these years, but in fact how many years they were actually a band. In less then a decade they produced thirteen full length albums, a feat that is unimaginable for any other band or solo artist. What makes it even more remarkable is that every one of those albums received rave reviews. Even the haters at Pitchfork, who must be pissing themselves at the chance to finally give the albums their beloved 10.0, gave an 8.8 as the lowest review to With the Beatles. In today's world we're lucky if a band releases an album every other year, let alone multiple albums in a single year. However the Beatles were masters in the studio. Sometimes I forget that all of their best work came after they stopped touring and hid away in the studio. The three back to back to back classics of Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper's all came about after they stopped performing and the latter two were released within ten months of each other. In fact the only year in which the band was active that they only released one album was 1968, and that album was the self-titled "White Album" which is arguably the best double album ever recorded. That alone is unthinkable. Also how many bands today wish they were psychedelic enough to record "Tomorrow Never Knows", "Within You Without You" and anything off of Magical Mystery Tour? (Animal Collective please raise your hand here.) Perhaps it was all the time in the studio which ultimately led to the break-up as was hinted in the film version of Let it Be, but it was probably worth it. The Beatles re-invented music forty years ago and are still at it today. How much more can be said that has not been said before? Not much.

So I'll leave you with this, EW just did a list of their top 50 Beatles songs and in return he are some of mine:

25. "Within You, Without You"
24. "Can't Buy Me Love"
23. "Paperback Writer"
22. "Revolution"
21. "I am the Walrus"
20. "Here, There, and Everywhere"
19. "Rain"
18. "Tell Me Why"
17. "Come Together"
16. "Eleanor Rigby"
15. "In My Life"
14. "If I Needed Someone"
13. "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)"
12. "Happiness is a Warm Gun"
11. "Dear Prudence"
10. "Don't Let Me Down"
09. "Something"
08. "Let It Be"
07. "Strawberry Fields Forever"
06. "I Need You"
05. "A Day in the Life"
04. "Hey Jude"
03. "Across the Universe"
02. "And Your Bird Can Sing"
01. "Tomorrow Never Knows"

Thank you Beatles, for 21 years I've been happy just to dance with you!

September 7, 2009

"Two Weeks" redone by Gabe Askew

Grizzly Bear has been getting lots of love from the rap world as of late. Jay-Z was recently spotted at their show in Williamsburg with Beyonce and then he released this dope statement courtesy of Pitchfork:
"[Grizzly Bear is] an incredible band. The thing I want to say to everyone-- I hope this happens because it will push rap, it will push hip-hop to go even further-- what the indie rock movement is doing right now is very inspiring. It felt like us in the beginning. These concerts, they're not on the radio, no one hears about them, and there's 12,000 people in attendance. And the music that they're making and the connection they're making to people is really inspiring. So I hope that they have a run where they push hip-hop back a little bit, so it will force hip-hop to fight to make better music. Because it can happen. Because that's what rap did to rock.
When rock was the dominant force in music, rap came and said, 'Y'all got to sit down for a second, this is our time.' And we've had a stranglehold on music since then. So I hope indie rock pushes rap back a bit because it will force people to make great music for the sake of making great music."

Now Kanye is showing love for the Brooklyn quartet by posting this video on his blog. The official video for "Two Weeks" already exists, but media artist Gabe Askew went ahead and made his own. It might be even better then the original.

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.

September 3, 2009

TV on the Radio Take Time Off

Pitchfork has reported that TV on the Radio will be taking a year long break from business as usual. Since the band has put out some of the best reords of the decade this is quite a blow to me knowing that it will be awhile before they blow my mind again. However just because they are not making new material as a band does not mean I need to hold my breath so neither should you! A solo album from Kyp Malone entitled Rain Machine will be released soon and the first two tracks sound promising, not to mention the artwork is great as well. Not to be out shined, fellow TVotR member Tunde Adebimpe is featured on the new Massive Attack EP Splitting the Atom due out in October. The artwork for that is amazing too!