Archive for the 'Indie' Category

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Marrow-St. Vincent

St. Vincent (Annie Clark) is only into her second album and I am starting to have angst about maybe never seeing her live. UC prefers the more delicate but still theatrical numbers while I lean to the angular, fuzzy, mathy virtuosity ones. We previously had “Your Lips Are Red” from her here, and “Marrow” is in the same vein. Phenomenal.

There is also an extended intro version of this same song from a different angle at the same show on the Tuber should you wish to get into it more, also it seems more songs from this set as well (good quality).

Summertime Clothes-Animal Collective

I needed to wait until posting this wasn’t seen as hipster, then I needed to avoid the accusation of bandwagon, then there was the minefield of the inevitable backlash. I hope I am in the realm of indifference/old news, but am likely in the land of poseur.

Creepy and psychedelic video for a surprisingly 80s-esque experimental art-wave straight up lovey dovey song about walking around at night in the city when it is too hot to sleep in your unstated 4th floor Brooklyn walk-up or some such. Works best for our Northeastern urban areas, 80s Sprite commercial type zones and from the Loop up to Wrigleyville. It is really a good tune.

Modern Art – Art Brut

This is the first in a series. The series will document songs that I didn’t care much about until I saw the song performed live, after which the song totally blew my mind. I won’t give away the others just yet, but the first is Modern Art, by Art Brut.

Let me first explain that if you’ve never seen Art Brut live, consider yourself deprived. I’m no aficionado, but I’ve seen somewhere between 100 and 150 live shows, and never have I seen a band that delivered a performance more fun than Art Brut. They recently played a five night residency in Chicago, and I was lucky enough to catch them twice at Schuba’s, a venue that holds less than 200 people. My only regret is that I didn’t buy the five night pass. They were that good. Fortunately I’ll be on vacation in L.A. next week, and I’ll be catching them yet again at Spaceland in Silverlake.

Modern Art, off of their first LP Bang, Bang, Rock and Roll was not a stand out track for me, until I saw them last Monday. Eddie Argos, master storyteller, walks into the crowd, back and forth, putting a tremendous strain on the guy manning the microphone cord. But he wants us all to really understand how much he loves the blues of David Hockney (I do too) and the pieces of Matisse. It’s a head banging, crowd rocking four minutes.

Their latest album Art Brut vs. Satan is something I simply can’t stop listening to. Don’t let the spoken word lyrics get you down. Yes, that is his real singing voice, it’s not irony, it’s not rock and roll. They’re just talking….to the kids. The musicality is fantastic and fun. In fact, I think F.U. and N. are the three best letters that describe Art Brut.

Car Radio-Spoon

Pandora birthed this effortless Spoon guitar triumphalism it’s so easy everything is perfect we are Spoon suck it talentless audience were are awesome Spoon who are you you are sad yeah I am but Spoon doesn’t even break a sweat it is so easy hey want to be pals really yeah wow you we be pals with me yeah we are Spoon we love everyone doesn’t everyone?

WARNING: Fan video.

NOTE: They won me over with the ol’ glass of milk gambit. Plus Spoon.

Between the Rent and Me-Snowden

A certain propulsive urgency. I like especially that it doesn’t feel overdone. Kind of like melodic retro-post punk. I wonder if the case can be made to have a certain amount of faith and get the entire album. This is a pretty good live version (the album version is on their 2006 LP Anti-Anti). This track was brought to my attention by Pandora.

I Can’t Stand It-Telepathe

1:02 in hits like a girl group My Bloody Valentine crossover. Maybe a little more Slowdive-y. Can’t say I love the album, but this song is so wonderful. We loved this track when it brightened our day in the P-Fork top 100 tracks of 2008, but the album showed up on eMusic and I loved it all over again.

The Mountain (Live)-Heartless Bastards

We’ve loved Heartless Bastards for quite a bit, but ZRM gives us their newest, out very soon I think. Check it out at his place.

Interestingly the band is an entirely new lineup, save the lead singer, after the breakup of a long-term relationship within the band.

Little Kids-Deerhunter

Deerhunter has at least one track on every release that worms its way immediately into my grey matter. Usually relating to some sort of repeated, advancing refrain. Some noisy bits with a chimey, insistent trudge throught the indie snow. This is from their latest, Microcastle, out just this week. I got it at eMusic, who I am convinced keeps moving up the date of my downloads evaporating each month. I think the album is decent, but this is the track that stood out to me.

I only put it under “shoegaze” because I think the feeling is of that genre if not the aesthetic.

Singer Songwriter-Okkervil River

The second track from Okkervil River’s recent and excellent The Stand Ins is currently dominating my psyche. A good cover has been invited by the band as part of a series of covers from the album, and that is the video on display below (David Vandervelde). The more electric nature of the original, and the fact the lyrics expressed by Will Sheff, lead singer of Okkervil River, almost seem effervescent and effortless, even though they are rife with memorable phrasing and wit, really does it for me. You need to obtain this record.

Two Ways Out-Darker My Love

Kind of an amiable ramble from these new psych drone hipsters not necessarily prone to this sort of pop reverie. The key part of the song is the refrain that tips into a different tone from the rest of the piece, somewhere different, something portending unspoken something, but vague in the best way, where you can supply your own palimpsest. Kind of reminds me of the Baxter Dury we did here.


“There’s one thing you should know, there’s always two ways out.”

These Few Presidents – Why?

1) Unlike the one in my last post, this song actually features a sock. And embroidered towels.

2) In the first verse, this guy reminds me of Stephen Merritt; in the second verse, he reminds me of someone else but I can’t figure out who. Or possibly the other way around.

3) Well, why?

4) Those who actually want some video in their video could do worse than this live version.

5) This track is not necessarily representative of Why? since there’s often a significant level of hip-hop influence in their songs.

6) The secret subtext of this song is that wrapping things in cloth doesn’t necessarily accomplish what you expect. Or possibly that airport security will never protect us until it detects wasps.

Continue reading ‘These Few Presidents – Why?’

Donde Esta La Playa-The Walkmen

Opens with the sound of intrepid hunters silently moving through an oasis at the edge of a desert, a hushed, rumbly. An expansive, shimmery restrained theatricality. Very Walkmen. Very good. A wonderful new album You and Me. Phenomenal. Give in to them. Live or headphones so the space can be appreciated. I’d love this on record. There is a warmth there that I can’t quite place.

Broken Social Scene Presents Brendan Canning – Hit the Wall and Churches Under the Stairs

Two new ones from the second album of the ‘Broken Social Scene Presents…’ series, following up on the first album from Kevin Drew. The first song is the album’s first single, and the second is my favorite song on the album so far, which is subject to change depending on how much I listen to it.

In the past, BSS has been kind of hit and miss for me. I really love their more traditional pop stuff, like “Stars and Sons” and “Cause = Time” from ‘You Forgot it in People’. But I’ve been kind lukewarm on the more instrumental/experimental stuff like “Shampoo Suicide” or “Looks Just Like the Sun”, from the same album. Their self titled album seemed to have more of the latter, and it’s not one of my favorites. Kevin Drew was responsible for a good portion of their earlier work, and somewhat as expected, his album was kind of all over the place.

Brendan Canning, has tended to be a little more subdued to this point, with “Stars and Sons” being a good example of his best work to this point. But he really steps up on the new album, with a lot of very interesting and very accessible pop. Both of these songs are good examples of that. He also delivers a fairly surprising dance track called “Love Is New”, which to me sounds like his own personal “I Turn My Camera On”.

In person, these guys deliver an excellent live set. I saw that at Intonation/Pitchfork a few years ago for the first time, and last Saturday, they hit the Metro for a two hour set following up on the set they played earlier in the day at Lollapalooza (which I did not attend). There are anywhere from 8 to 18 people on stage at all times, but it’s controlled chaos, and it sounds great.

Into the Open-Heartless Bastards

I remembered to start listening to WOXY again, so I could find some new bands to scoop off of emusic. I heard the HB’s “Valley of Debris” and liked it so I got their last album All This Time. The album was so immediately listenable and engaging that I also picked up the earlier album emusic had, Stairs and Elevators. It is pretty good as well, but this is one of those situations where the band sounds fuller, more wonderful, deeper and more complex on the newer album. You can see that they are growing as artists and that is always nice to see such a progression. It may have just been the recording budget, but the songs just sound “more.” Here is a fairly good to excellent live video for “Into the Open” from All This Time.

Go buy now.

Liar-Built to Spill

I just heard this tonight for the first time. The title makes it seem more sinister than it is. For example, it isn’t a song excoriating someone for their lies, their pathology, their abuse, their anything, such as the standard tropes about liars go. The other “Liar” that this song isn’t, is the Rollins Band “Liar” wherein Henry Rollins ably plays the part of a pathological Romeo whose sole goal is a game of sport and destruction. This isn’t that. This is the opposite of that. This is the “I’m not a liar” (because I’m telling you a truth, perhaps a difficult and painful truth, a truth that is bad enough to deny, to accuse one of lying). A good tune. From the possibly underrated You In Reverse (I still need to hear the whole thing).

The Ghost Of You Lingers – Spoon

I post this song from the stellar Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga album for two reasons: First of all, I don’t think this song is getting the same radio play that Don’t Make Me A Target and You Got Yr Cherry Bomb are getting, whereas it is equally stunning. The intensity of the piano chords gives the music a creepy and pulsating feeling. The video captures that well.

Most importantly, this is a massive FU to every one of you haterz that has ripped on Supertramp now or ever. Well, just eat it. This is the demonic and supreme reincarnation of the Supertramp sound and it reigns on your feeble souls. There.

Shoot You Down-The Stone Roses

Sugary-spun shuffling psychedelia. I always post songs from this album (The Stone Roses) with the admonishment that this is one of the nastiest albums that you don’t ever think is that nasty because the sound is so lazy hazy summery drug Sunday. This is one of the most obviously nasty of the bunch. King Monkey spreads the hate with a matter-of-fact-smirk on his face. Think this is the Bad Acid at Woodstock:The Next Generation with Ian Brown, lead singer, as the Jean Luc Picard of Manchester hippie pub club drug thug.

Vittorio E.-Spoon

Spoon are inconceivably good in a package that is so seemingly demure and lacking in superfluous flourishes that I am astounded. In reality, this means they are usually quite entertaining and listenable, but they rarely floor me. This, from Kill the Moonlight, is a one of those rarer, wonderful times.

Destroy Everything You Touch-Ladytron

I know we just did a Ladytron, but this song has been on my mind lately. I’ve just gotten their new one, Velocifero, but haven’t had a chance to listen. This is from their top-to-bottom super solid Witching Hour. The album strikes one as “pretty good” on first listen, but it is just so listenable it has to get a knock up a level.

Night Walks-Black Mountain

Haunting spaced out drug rock elegy. The recording isn’t too bad on this version. Takes about 2.5 minutes to get started, but what I find totally unastounding is that there are some choads that just kind of chat the whole time. You know, the people that have an infinite amount of bar time and an infinite amount of shows that they see, and they go to bars on show night to just drink at the bar and blabber during some totally awesome song. From their latest, In the Future.