Yesterday Future Islands released their second LP, In Evening Air on Thrill Jockey Records. Our track of the day is the first single from that album, “Tin Man,” a track that has an upbeat but moribund energy. Future Islands combines sparse guitar lines with a steel drum and gruff but sensitive vocals that sound somewhere between Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan and Pixies‘ Frank Blank. “Little Dreamer” is the final track of their first LP Wave Like Home which was released on vinyl earlier this year. “Little Dreamer” is a sweet ballad cast in the same lo-fi, bristly electronics of “Tin Man.” Future Islands are strange in that on paper they seems like a combination of common sounds – new wave, punk, indie, folk – but somehow they are leagues above all the other bands dabbling in similar genres.
Future Islands – “Tin Man”
Future Islands – “Little Dreamer”
Tags: chuck ragan, frank black, future islands, hot water music, indie, the pixies, thrill jockey
After solo albums by practically every member in this indie supergroup, Canadians (and Virginian fox Neko Case) the New Pornographers released their fifth album today, the aptly named Together. I wanted to pick a lesser known song then their first single for this Track of the Day, but damn! it’s just too good. One of the most propulsive melodies on the record lit up by a killer lead vocal by Case and surprisingly apocalyptic lyrics coming from one of music’s sunnier bands. After her strong performance on this album and last year’s Middle Cyclone, I’d have to consider Case in my top 3 female indie vocalists.
“The ruins were wild / Tonight will be an open mic.”
When Ronnie Drew died in the summer of 2008, having lost a two-year battle with throat cancer, his death was greeted with the kind of pomp and reverence usually reserved for a military hero – the Irish President and Prime Minister issued statements of condolence within hours, and streets were lined as his funeral procession came to a halt in Greystones, Co. Wicklow. At his funeral, it was telling that, of all the songs and poems that were cited, none was as poignant as the excerpt from a lament to Brendan Behan: “Words have no meaning now, silence is master, laughter and songs bow.”
Behan was a child of old Dublin, born shortly after independence to a family of revolutionaries. His father fought in the War of Independence and his maternal uncle wrote the national anthem, which persists to this day and graphically recounts an ambush attack on a troop of British soldiers in Ireland. Infused by that same spirit, at the age of 16 Behan joined the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and went on a rogue mission to England to blow up the Liverpool docks. He was caught and placed in a youth prison for three years, whereupon he wrote his memoir, The Borstal Boy; years later, he would write his defining work, the play The Quare Fellow, and had his brother Dominic, himself an ex-convict, write a haunting ballad to open the work.
The track is usually performed a capella with a single lead vocalist, in this…
This might become a regular thing that I do but for now I want to take it slow and see how it goes. I feel like most of the other staff members rarely read reviews on the site, but I read a lot of them and sometimes I’m shocked at the lack of basic grammar and punctuation skills displayed. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a lot of reviews lack concrete ideas and are generally just poorly worded and expressed. So I’ve picked a review that exemplifies those issues and I’m going to dissect it. On the chopping block is Bulldog’s review of B.o.B.’s The Adventures of Bobby Ray.
Section #1: The Summary
The review hits its first snag in a very fundamental way: the summary is horrible. Ideally, this is the first (and sometimes only) thing that people will read when they look at your review. It sums up your thoughts succinctly and gives the reader a good gauge of your opinion prior to diving into the meat of your writing. Bulldog chose this to do that:
“Alternative hip-hop for the masses. But above all, this is really a concrete testament to the diversity in, and morphability of, hip-hop…or is it?”
First of all, “morphability” is not a word. No discussion. It does not exist. Google it and you will find a bunch of websites talking about the “morph ability” in Dungeons and Dragons. This is actually a fairly common mistake. People will invent a word and dismiss…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 4, 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Asia – Omega (King Japan/Zoom)
Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Tobacco, aka Tom Fec, has always had a knack for quality hip-hop inspired beats. On his first solo outing away from BMSR, 2008’s Fucked up Friends, he took his analog wizardry over to Anticon records, the home of Sole and Why?, and went all out. Following in the vein of his solo debut, “Fresh Hex” is the second single from Tobacco’s upcoming album Maniac Meat. One of two songs on the album to feature a guest spot from Beck, “Fresh Hex” is Tobacco at his best, his nightmarishly twisted beat thumps along as Beck relives his Odelay glory days. It’s one hell of a ride, even if it only lasts a bit over a minute and a half.
Tobacco – Fresh Hex (feat. Beck)
“F**k-Nuggets”. That is the first word that entered my head upon the elimination of Siobhan Magnus last night on Season-9 of American Idol. Why? Well, you know when you just have a feeling that something is going to happen at a certain time? Well, I superstitiously predicted this exact occurrence for this exact date. Call it pessimism, a lucky guess or a dreaded sense of fortune telling, but it sometimes is just the way things work. For you see, it is not the American public that I am calling “f**k-Nuggets” (although they have clearly played their part), it is 4 of those 5 d!ckheads currently smiling at you from your computer screens.
“But Davey, the judges liked Siobhan’s performance on Tuesday night and weren’t the ones who voted her off” I hear you exclaim. That is not my issue. My issue dates back 3 weeks ago to April-7, when Cowell & Co. inexplicably decided to use their ‘Save’ vote on Offensive Lineman Michael Lynche. For the uninitiated, the 4 judges have the ability to save a contestant who has just been eliminated. However, there are two huge catches: (1) They can only do this once, and (2) they could only do it up until the Top 5. So why in the hell they would choose to do this when a contestant was eliminated in 9th position is beyond me… A fact
Anthony Green’s backing band, Good Old War, are set to release their self-titled second album on June 1st. The first single, “My Own Sinking Ship” is available for free download at digital.goodoldwar.com. The Philadelphian trio plays a smooth folk reminiscent of a more worldly, less isolated Fleet Foxes, and “My Own Sinking Ship” is a promising preview of the group’s next effort. Be sure to check out their split EP with Cast Spells, the side project of Dave Davison of Maps and Atlases, undoubtedly some of the group’s best work.
Tags: anthony green, good old war
Dutch DJ trio Noisia have long been fixtures in the drum ‘n bass scene, but new album Split The Atom is way too filthy for any one genre. Electro, house, breaks, dubstep; all and more are incorporated on the sickest party record of the new decade, and single “Machine Gun” is perhaps the best representation of this mish-mashing of styles. There are plenty of excellent remixes of the song as well (YouTube the 16Bit version if you don’t mind showering afterwards), but the original is still the most guaranteed to kick any party into high gear. Like if Darth Vader DJed a rave.
Jeremy Ferwerda stole my thunder last week by posting Gold Panda’s newest track “You” so I’m resorting to Gold Panda’s best track, “Quitter’s Raga.” This song pairs a simple, organic beat with detailed sampling work that taps into a set of Indian vocals and instruments with an IDM/glitch level of precision and volatility. Despite the technical wizardry in operation, the true pull of this song is its sticky sweet catchiness.
Gold Panda – “Quitter’s Raga”
Tags: electronic, gold panda, raga
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 27, 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
1349 – Demonoir (Prosthetic Records)
“Havin’ My Baby” is absolutely exhausting. From that prolonged sample that plays it in, to the single keyboard note bashed for three entire minutes, it’s just relentless. Add Martin Cesar’s soulful delivery, the simple drum beat, and that ascending guitar wail and if you’re not left doing some sweaty rendition of the running man by the time the song comes to its close, nothing can save you. Think About Life’s Family may have been a hit-or-miss affair (a lesser Dear Science, in a lot of ways) but when it hits, it does so with such soaring electro-soul ingenuity that it becomes impossible to ignore.
You can listen to “Havin’ My Baby” below but god damnit you better be ready to get funky.
Well, since today is officially The National day, lets celebrate by recognizing one of the best tracks off High Violet. If you haven’t heard this yet, well, there’s little hope for you, but here’s “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” High Violet’s answer to “Mr. November.” Slightly subtler but no less nostalgically optimistic, “Bloodbuzz Ohio” serves as High Violet’s centerpiece, a middle of the album anthem that stands easily as the most single-ready song. Sure, most of you know this already and this might be redundant, but if you’re a National skeptic and don’t really know if you want to take the time to listen to what could easily be the indie rock record of 2010 (aka chambered89), give this song a shot then head on over to the stream going on at The New York Times and become a cool human being.
Waking up from a generous two hours of sleep on Sunday didn’t really do wonders for my outlook on the day, and it was obvious from the moment I entered back onto the festival grounds that a lot of people felt the same way. The whole vibe on Sunday was entirely different from the rest of the festival, a feeling of comedown shaded with “I can’t believe this is almost over.” It was sort of depressing, but the lineup more than made up with it with more of my favorite bands than either of the two previous days.
I first proceeded to the Sahara to see English dubstep producer Rusko, despite my earlier promise that I couldn’t handle any more wobble in my life. Rusko has always been more accessible than the darker dubstep that many of his countrymen prefer, injecting elements of house and dance with an upbeat sound that had the mid-afternoon crowd shaking off any Tiesto hangover they might have brought along. Following that I hustled over to the Outdoor Stage to see a bit of Deerhunter’s trippy live act, a frenetic set unfortunately marred by numerous technical difficulties. Bradford Cox’s unveiling of a new Deerhunter song that name-dropped “Coachella 2010” in the chorus was the clear winner amongst the crowd.
Florence and the Machine had the Gobi tent packed far past capacity by the time the redheaded songstress finally made it on stage fifteen minutes past…