Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's a New Crushed by Inertia Today!

Some changes around the blog which deserve a bit of attention. Firstly, I have shifted over to the new Blogger, which allows me to do a variety of neat things like tagging posts. This will enable you, the reader, to select posts from a variety of categories. Okay, two: Poorly-spelled rants about movies andpoorly-spelled tirades against Republicans.

Also, I'm getting rid of the space-consuming and texty sidebar review archive, and am currently in the process of crafting an easy-to-navigate single page which will organize the reviews based on overall film quality.

So I guess I'm not closing up shop, as I have been considering during my little bloggy sabbatical over the past few weeks. One thing I've been doing with the time I would have otherwise devoted to blogging is listening to new music. It seems like an inordinate amount of good music has already been released in this young year.

Or maybe I'm just getting more efficient at hunting down new shit I'm likely to enjoy. One resource that's become increasingly invaluable is Pitchfork's mp3-blog-in-all-but-name, The Forkcast. The Fork's writers link to at least one great new song every single day.

Here's the mix I've been listening to all week. When possible, I'll link to a downloadable version of the song. (I found them all online, and all for free, so you won't even have to be a criminal to listen along!):

(1) "Black Mirror," The Arcade Fire

The first single from the Arcade Fire's upcoming new album, Neon Bible. Typically brilliant. Find a link to the mp3, plus a ton of cool Arcade Fire YouTube links here on Muzzle of Bees.

(2) "Murder in Michigan," David Vandervelde

This guy's the darling of the mp3 blogs at the moment. I've downloaded at least 3 or 4 tracks from the album already, and this one's my favorite.

(3) "Down in the Valley," The Broken West

Instantly likable and monstrously catchy. I will most likely tire of this song in a few weeks, but for now, I feel compelled to listen to it several times a day, sometimes while rhythmically banging the shit out of my car's steering wheel.

(4) "Beach Party," Air France

Featured on The Forklist, which insists that they don't sound like the French duo AIR, even though they kind of do. They sound like AIR on a couple dozen Zoloft, after a long nap and three pitchers of margaritas per.

(5) "La Monogamie," Malajube

I swear to God, this sounds like French-Canadian Weezer. That sounds really awful, until you think about it for a minute and realize that, in fact, you have just been pwn3d and it's entirely sweet. This song as well as one other can be downloaded here from My Old Kentucky Blog.

(6) "Gronlandic Edit," Of Montreal

I first got into these guys years ago, during a hardcore Elephant 6 phase. They had an immensely twee, almost unbearably twee, song called "Fun Loving Nun" from their 1999 album The Gay Parade that appeared on a number of random mix CD's I had made for some reason. This song, from their 2007 album Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer?, doesn't really sound anything like that song (it's more Krautrock than Athens, Georgia), which is probably a good thing. It also includes the refrain "physics makes us all its bitches."

I don't remember where I found this song initially, but here's a version available on Quick Before it Melts. (Thanks, Elbo.ws!)

(7) "Bros (Radio Edit)," Panda Bear

It kills me to include this, because Panda's one of the dudes from Animal Collective, a group I take great pride in avoiding. To me, they've always sounded like crunchy, undergrad wannabes, the sort of people who listen to Radiohead and then assume that anyone dithering around on instruments spacily will automatically come across as cerebral and deep. (How to Disappear Completely Up Your Own Ass?) I mean, "who could win a rabbit?" Are you fucking kidding me? We are, after all, speaking about a grown man who has chosen to release albums under the moniker "Panda Bear."

But, having said all that, this terrific song grabbed me right away. I feel lame admitting this, but it reminds me of the opening credits for Gremlins. It must be the vaguely-sinister use of Christmas sounds. It's getting a lot of repeat play this week. Grab it here from The Forkcast.

(8) "Sparrow," The Laylights

On My Old Kentucky Blog, Dodge offers up this mp3 along with the proviso that the Laylights sound too much like other bands to make a big splash. He may be right, although I think it's less complex than that. They don't strikingly resemble other bands so much as they are just kind of middle-of-the-road, predictable and generic. He brings up U2, The Killers and Interpol as touchpoints, but those are all bands that have tried to stake out some kind of an idiosyncratic sound of their own. (Or, U2 did at one time, and The Killers have been less than successful in the attempt.)

I'd compare The Laylights more to a Matchbox 20 or Fastball. Only, you know, somewhat more good.

(9) "We Expected," The Hussys

Another 'Fork recommendation, Scots The Hussys once again demonstrate how much more accomplished British lyricists are with wry social satire than their American counterparts. Like a role-reversed "Common People," delivered with regret rather than scorn.

(10) "Who Am I Kidding," Winterkids

According to Gorilla vs. Bear, the Winterkids already claim "Next Big Thing" status in the UK, which means the hipster backlash is due any day now. So enjoy the bubbly "Who Am I Kidding?" now, while it's still safe. I'd also like to say, for the record, that I already think these guys are better than The Arctic Monkeys, because I fucking hate The Arctic Monkeys.

(11) "Everday and Every Night," Starless & Bible Black

Acoustic guitar and cartoon sound effects collide in this wacky folk-jazz-rock oddity that I'm really digging presently. Find it here at My Old Kentucky Blog.

(12) "Forts," The Boggs

Another find from the always-dependable Dodge at My Old Kentucky Blog, The Boggs (really, Jason Friedman and a rotating group of musicians) somehow mash together a variety of dischordant elements (a children's chorus, handclaps, inscrutable yelling and other loud noises) and come out with a groovy, accessible rock song. Amazing. They don't really sound similar, but Friedman's kitchen sink approach brings one of my favorite 2006 discoveries, WHITE FLIGHT, to mind.

(13) "My Sword Hand's Anger," Apostle of Hustle

I heard this song initially on Idolator, but that link doesn't work any more. You can still find it on Oceans Never Listen, however. Andrew Whiteman's a member of both Broken Social Scene and Apostle of Hustle, and the two bands share a similar kind of multi-layered, busy dynamic. I like this one a bit more than the other single, "The Naked and Alone," but not by much. They're both hooky but not sugary or predictable. Very much looking forward to checking out the whole album.

(14) "Spring Hall Convert," Deerhunter

This is a really spacey, psychedelic headtrip of a song from a band I've never heard of before. Once again, this is a Pitchfork recommendation. I can't say enough about this music blog thing they've set up. Kind of a one-stop shop for any new bands getting recognition online. Plus, it rarely features entries composed in Shakespearean verse and doesn't require Roget's Thesarus or Wikipedia to readily comprehend.

(15) "Bluebells," Patrick Wolf

The last of the Forkcast songs I felt like sharing comes from the appropriately surnamed Patrick Wolf. I'm listening to it now, and it occurs to me that a number of the songs on this list include peculiar or anachronistic sound effects in the background. (In fact, both this song and "Beach Party" feature noises resembling exploding fireworks. This song also includes howling, whispering and bursts that sound kind of like gunshots.

I'm not really certain what I like about this song. It feels like it's building to some kind of cresendo, a big loud moment of catharsis, but that never happens. Still, I like it a lot. It's very dark, atmospheric music, kind of like Nick Cave.

(16) "The Mercury Craze," Subtle

These guys are opening for TV on the Radio on the next leg of their tour. I predict this song will be the most divisive on the list. Or would be, if any of my readers were actually going to bother downloading all of these songs and then comparing notes afterwards.

Anyway, like WHITE FLIGHT or The Boggs, this kind of brings together Beck, The Gorillaz and Hot Chip into a frenetic, white-boy mashed-up swirl. The only thing I dislike about this dizzying freakout is the obnoxious, sing-songy finale that lasts about a minute, sampling a '50s commercial announcer quoting a loopy Dr. Seuss-like poem and background singers repeating the phrase "blood." I mean, guys, that's all very meta and post-modern of you and everything, but shut up, because you're ruining an otherwise perfectly servicable groove. Check it out yourself on My Old Kentucky Blog.

1 comment:

steve c. said...

All those songs suck.